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Musical impact on mentality

  1. Mar 20, 2005 #1
    I live in Northern Ireland, and we have many different groups of people that all listen to different / mixed types of songs.
    I have observed for quite some time now (Years) that certain people that listen to certain music behave in certain ways.
    The biggest impact music has had in Northern Ireland has been the annoying repetitive dance/rave music.

    What effects music has on the brain I do not know. I consulted Microsoft's Encarta 2005 for some info on this, but it didn't have anything on music’s effects on the brain.

    I'm not sure about where you live and what cultures of music you have there. But here is just a little chart / information table I have compiled from a series of silent tests I have secretly performed on people without knowing them / them realizing I’m testing them.

    For the record; I am a fan of Rap, Rock and Metal.

    Dance/Techno/Rave - Generally listened by those in adolescent years - Majority of those who listen to this music, have appeared to be 'Slow idiotic and mostly incompetent. Constantly in a state of anger, always vandalize public property or physically injure others for no reason. Always abuse drugs and alcohol. Mainly the British, but allot of the world know these types of people as Chavs (see www.chavscum.co.uk[/URL])[/I]

    Rap - Generally listened by those in adolescent years - The minority of those who listen to this music turn into standardised Eminem’s and use drugs. Not always idiotic, incompetent, but about 60% of those who only listen to rap are ill-mannered.

    Rock - Generally listened by those in adolescent years and the middle aged generation - The majority that listen to Rock music, are well mannered, polite, hard working people, and usually quite intelligent.

    Metal - Generally listened by those in adolescent years - Quite a mixed genre of music. Majority are well mannered, polite, hard working, intelligent people. But those who are not are, Maniacally depressed, constantly angry, enjoy grotesque things such as dead bodies / animals.

    Classical - Not very widely listened to. Despised by the Rave culture, Rap culture, liked by the rock and metal culture.

    I have selected these genre's of music, as they are the most prominent in NI.

    I have a theory for the reasoning behind music behaviour.

    When listening to music, your brain releases more testosterone or [I]Forgot the name of the female equivalent to testosterone[/I] (Let's call Testosterone etc 'X') which in turn, makes you more hyper. The faster the music beats or more "active" it is, the more X your brain releases, causing you to do things you wouldn't normally do unless perhaps under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

    What are your views on this subject?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 20, 2005 #2
    I read somewhere about the Mozart Effect.

    Students listening to Mozart music for a week had IQs 5-10 points higher than average. The IQ rise was only temporary though.
  4. Mar 20, 2005 #3
    Music and the brain

    Your thinking is sound (!) but testosterone is not released by the brain: note the similarity between the words testosterone and testicles, and draw your own picture....

    However, music does indeed affect the brain, and can affect hormone production levels.

    The brain is made of three different parts, the primitive part of the brain or brain stem, the so-called reptilian brain; the middle brain or mammalian brain; and the new brain which developed last, consisting of two brain hemispheres joined by a bridge, the corpus callosum.

    Our brains receive music across all these different parts of the brain. Music is composed of several elements: pitch, rhythm, intensity and duration. Our perception of music is also affected by our ability to remember and interpret what we have just heard.

    The intellect resides in the neocortex (new brain), which, as I said earlier, consists of two hemispheres connected by the corpus callosum. The right hemisphere specializes in the perception of the spatial elements of music (harmony and pitch) whereas the left hemisphere specializes in the perception of time elements, the progress of the music, which requires memory. For complete perception of the music, we need to have connection and cooperation between the two hemispheres.

    Is this related to your area of interest? Should I post more?


    PS: Rock rules!
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2005
  5. Mar 21, 2005 #4
    I don't believe that the type of music you listen to effects you mental abilities. Over the past 4 decades I have seen people do quite well in life, despite there tastes in music.
  6. Mar 21, 2005 #5
    kate - "Your thinking is sound (!) but testosterone is not released by the brain: note the similarity between the words testosterone and testicles, and draw your own picture....

    However, music does indeed affect the brain, and can affect hormone production levels"

    Yes, true. But isn't it the testosterone levels that change your hormones?

    btw, I finally remembered the female equivelent. Estrogen.

    Been bugging me for ages. :p

    What I am trying to find out is, as allready proved with mozart, can the style of music you listen to really define how quickly / easily you can pick up things, such as education, your surroundings, ability to accept other cultures etc etc.

    The kind of question I am asking is quite complicated. Kate, you have told us that you enjoy listening to rock music. Your reply clearly shows intillect. Now think. If my theory is correct, being - the type of music you listen to defines your intillect - what sort of reply would you have given this topic had you be listening primarily to Rap, Dance, Rave, or any other genre of music.

    Some of the figures may back my point here too. Think to the kind of schools we have here in the UK.

    High schools seem to be over-run with the ones they call chavs. And high schools are for averaged teenagers. The majority in the high schools chavs are dim and listen to rave.

    However. In a grammar school the majority of students there are metalheads or rockers.

    Now. If those chavs had listened to rock instead of rave, perhaps they'd be sitting in a grammer school getting strait A's in subjects. Vice versa.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2005
  7. Mar 21, 2005 #6
    I listen to classical music, and I'd say im dumb :uhh:
  8. Mar 21, 2005 #7
    You may be underestimating what you know.

    Why dont you take the test at www.iqtest.com and find your IQ.
  9. Mar 21, 2005 #8
    I'm not too sure.. I don't believe in the validity of IQ tests..
  10. Mar 21, 2005 #9
    Well, at least it will set you in some place in a chart, and will atleast give us an idea on how smart you are, compared to others that have taken the test and their results.

    No one will laugh at you if it's low, if that's what you're worrying about? It just shows them up to be an idiot.
  11. Mar 21, 2005 #10
    Its not that I'm worried about. If its low, i wouldn't be suprised as well. i think im dumb. But even if it is high, i still believe its a bad thing, as when you get a relatively high IQ, you can't help but be proud of yourself, which can be somewhat fatal mistake.

    I'll just hang around.. :zzz:
  12. Mar 21, 2005 #11
    Music and the brain

    To get back to Paul's original topic and away from IQ tests...

    Let me clarify a few things about hormones in general, then I’ll try to answer part of your question.
    Testosterone is not responsible for the control of hormone production. Testosterone is the major sex hormone in men and is produced mainly in the testes or testicles. This function of the testicles is controlled by the pituitary gland.
    Hormones are produced by endocrine glands and are released into the blood stream. The pituitary gland oversees other glands and keeps hormone levels in check. It can cause changes in hormone production by other glands, by releasing its own special messenger hormones. The pituitary gland is also connected to the nervous system by a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. This is the part of the brain which instigates emotional behaviour and makes sure we are able to react quickly when faced with life threatening situations.

    The latest theories suggest that our emotional responses to music are controlled by the amygdala, which is closely connected to the hypothalamus. The amygdala evaluates sensory input for its emotional meaning, receiving sensory information directly and quickly from the thalamus, a relay station for incoming information, before it has been processed by the conscious thinking part of the brain, the cortex.

    Information about the music we are listening to is also received from the cortex but more slowly, which explains why we sometimes experience an immediate reaction upon hearing some types of music, such as crying when we hear a sad song in a minor key. It also explains why we might drive faster if we are listening to exciting music. These immediate responses, formed before the thinking part of the brain has had time to process the music, are automatic and largely outside our control.

    Although the cortical pathways take a little longer to react to music, they do a more thorough job of analysing and reacting to music because they bring up memories related to the music we are hearing. This explains why you might cry whilst listening to songs that remind you of a failed love affair. While these memories may also influence our emotional responses to music, because we are consciously aware of them, our responses are more likely to be within our control.

    In some circumstances, listening to music also seems to encourage the release of endorphins. These natural painkillers produced by the body can produce emotional responses. Recent UK research involving children with emotional and behavioural problems found that when Mozart was played during science lessons, children, whose behaviour was normally very disruptive, demonstrated improved concentration. Pulse rate, blood pressure and temperature reduced significantly, because the music increased the production of endorphins lowering blood pressure, which led to a reduction in corticosteroids and adrenalin slowing the body's metabolism and improving co-ordination.

    This would appear to be related to the phenomenon you have observed. With me so far?
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2005
  13. Mar 21, 2005 #12
    Only and just about. So classical music (I'm listening to Mozart right now ;) ) seems to have a posative effect when it comes to concentrating and attitude.
    You mentioned that fast exciting music may cause someone who is driving to speed up. Perhaps the what we know as chavs, that listen to that music get over excited and it leads them to the point they must physically harm others and vandalize property.

    I wonder if there would be any way to test this.

    I'd test it upon myself, but I really despise rave.
  14. Mar 21, 2005 #13
    Music and the brain

    Hi Paul,

    If I'm getting too technical, stop me. If there's anything I haven't explained properly, please say, and I'll try to make it clearer. I'm really enjoying this conversation.

    It does indeed appear that certain types of music can have a positive effect on concentration and attitude, in particular, baroque music, because of its complex and intertwined melodies and counterparts. These characteristics are shared by jazz (I know - urghh!), and progressive rock and metal music, especially if it has complex drum and guitar riffs.

    It might indeed be the case that certain individuals experience more of the immediate responses to music than those more measured responses produced by the cortex, which is the part of your brain that is 'awake'. It may also be the case that certain types of music are less likely to produce deep-seated emotional responses.

    There are several ways to test these theories, and in fact a lot of research has been done in this area. If you want to conduct your own test, all you need is a stopwatch and a pad of paper, and some volunteers. I'll post more about how to do this tomorrow.

    By the way, my IQ score varies from 153 to 39 (amoeba!), depending on which test I take and how much caffeine and nicotine I've imbibed, so you shouldn't set too much store by them.


    PS: Rock still rules!
  15. Mar 22, 2005 #14
    So the complexity of the music and its intstruments may play a part in it.

    Theory two.

    Those that do listen to classical music, may correlate with high intillect due to the complex and amount of instruments.
    But those who listen to Rave or minimalist music, would not have as mentally active cortex as those who listen to classical music, as there would be maybe only 3 or 4 different notes played the whole time. And not even ones of any instrument, but generated by a synthasizer or computer.

    And please, don't tone your talk down for me Kate. I'm learning from you, and I like it. ;)

    What is this test you say I can conduct?
  16. Mar 22, 2005 #15
    Music and the brain

    Hi Paul,

    Here’s a test you can do fairly easily to see what effects different types of music can have on the physiology of the listener.

    Equipment: notepad & pen, stopwatch, thermometer if you have one, selection of different types of music, a quiet room.
    You’ll need at least one person (subject) to take part in the test, this could be yourself. The more people take part in the test, the more useful the end results will be, in determining what effects, if any, are observed.

    Step one: Explain to your subject what you’re going to do. Invite your subject to relax in a quiet room. There should be no distractions. Make sure the subject is comfortable. Ask them to relax for five minutes.

    Step two: Take your subject’s pulse, by placing your fingers on their wrist (it is important not to use your thumb, because your thumb has a strong pulse point and you might read your own pulse instead of that of your subject). If you have a thermometer, you can take their temperature, too. Make a note of these initial readings on your notepad.

    Step three: Play five minutes’ worth of a particular type of music and ask them to relax and listen. At the end of the five minute period, take the subject’s pulse again (and temperature if you have a thermometer). Make a note of these readings.

    Step four: Invite the subject to relax once more, for another five minutes without music. At the end of the five minutes, take the pulse (and temp) again and make a note of these readings.

    Repeat steps three and four for each of the different types of music you want to include in your test.

    You can test many people on the same day, or you could test one person at a time and spread the testing out over a period of days, weeks or months, it doesn’t matter. You should be sure to make a note of what period the testing occurs over, however.
    The data you have collected at the end might be easier to analyse if you put it into a graph. I can explain how to do this if you like.

    You should be aware of a phenomenon called ‘white coat syndrome’; sometimes, test subjects can become anxious about being tested repeatedly, which can skew your results.

    The results are likely to show that listening to music produces a measurable physiological effect upon the listener. You will be able to compare the levels of effect caused by different types of music. From this point, you can begin to ask more detailed questions about possible reasons for the results.

    You might like to ask your subjects to complete a questionnaire about the types of music they usually listen to, before you begin testing.

    You could include an element of testing for improvement in concentration by asking subjects to complete an exercise, like a crossword or maths puzzle, in the rest periods between listening periods.

    Let me know how your results turn out.

    Sites with information about research into the effect of music on the brain


    http://www.heartmathreport.com/index.php/C42/ [Broken]

    http://www.soundtherapy.co.uk/research/musicresearch.php [Broken]


    http://www.nursing-standard.co.uk/archives/ns/vol18-36/pdfs/v18n36p3339.pdf [Broken]


    http://www.sln.org.uk/music/Documents/mozart%20effect%20qls%20day%20timed%20version.ppt [Broken]

    http://www.kaizen-training.com/free/TtT_Hare_Smallwood.pdf [Broken]

    http://adutopia.subportal.com/health/Diseases_and_Conditions/Brain/110501.html [Broken]

    http://www.bera.ac.uk/publications/pdfs/musicreview.pdf [Broken]


    Happy testing!
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  17. Mar 22, 2005 #16
    I have a few friends that would probably be quite interested in participating, as they all have the same question I have.

    Thanks very much kate. When I get it all done, i'll let you know how it went, perhaps we can be the pinnical of it all and come out with some decent answers. :p

    - Paul.
  18. Mar 23, 2005 #17


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    I've been a working jazz musician off and on for 30+ years, and I've played rock and roll -- worked with a guy who did James Brown almost as well as James Brown -- it can be fun, but it gets boring to play. I note that quite a few kids, mostly guitar players in their late teens, and early twenties gravitate to jazz from rock and roll because rock and roll, for them, gets boring and they want to play music that is more challenging. That's not to say that all rock is that way -- Eric Clapton ,Sting, Prince, for example are brilliant musicians, recognized as such by jazz players and symphonic players.

    I find the comments about classical music to be parochial. That is, Bach, for example, has remained popular for over 300 years, 10 times as long as heavy metal. Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington have lasted for almost 100 years -- and even some rockers do the Great American Songbook.

    Every generation seems to have its own music, which they, of course, think is, like man what else is there to dig? When I was a kid we had rhythm and blues, and big band and jazz and the beginnings of rock and roll, and there was lot's of classical music on the radio. We got exposed to many types of music, something that sadly is no longer true. One thing to note is that white bands did covers of black group songs, Earth Angel was one, and the white bands got all the bread, one of the dirty secrets of the music biz.

    Types of music and intellect? I've never seen any correlation -- there's no accounting for taste. There are geniuses in jazz, in classical and opera, in rock, in blues, in country.To play anything past three chord rock requires intelligence. To do recording and mixing takes great skill, great ears, and brains. And note that those three chords came directly from classical music. I've known PhD physicists who are rockers, who are jazz lovers, who dote on opera, and blue collar workers who love opera. Who's to figure?

    Hiphop? In the hands of a skilled producer like Quincy Jones, it can be achingly beautiful, and/or fierce - I tend to think of it as folk music, not necessarily that different at the core from Irish folk ballads. Folks are trying to say something, talkin' to you.

    (I do have to admit, that my three sons, all in their 40s, are guitarists, are rockers and dig heavy metal, which I do not. Like generations are different.)

    Music is to enjoy. Listen to what you like. But do have the courage to stretch yourself once in a while and listen to something different -- Andy Summers (sp) CD of some of Thelonius Monk's music -- Expand your palette, increase your enjoyment. Get really hip.

    Reilly Atkinson
  19. Mar 23, 2005 #18
    Excellent thread - very informative!

    While Reilly's right that music is usually for enjoyment, this discussion seems to be more about its use as a tool that shapes mental response - giving temporarily increased mental capability, or soothing disruptive children. That's intuitively obvious - but many 'obvious' notions fall down in controlled tests so I'll be interested to see the outcome of the experiments.

    Now I'm off to read some of kate's links.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2005
  20. Mar 23, 2005 #19

    You're absolutely right, music is to enjoy and I would defend to the death the right of evry man to listen to music of their choice, even music that might make me feel that my ears are bleeding. I love classical music, by the way, especially Debussy, Chopin, Dvorjak, Stravinsky, Bethoven, Schubert, Barber and Mahler. My favourite bands are Dream Theater (Petrucci is a genius), Rush, Genesis (drumming you couldn't sneeze at) and Evanescence, whose songs could be repackaged as modern preludes and fugues. While lots of jazz leaves me cold, Gershwin and Porter are notable exceptions and Jamie Cullum is bringing me round, slowly.

    When you talk of having known geniuses who play various types of music, we may be at cross purposes, Paul is, I think, referring largely to individuals who listen only, rather than to musicians. Musicians are a creative bunch, by and large and would not I think, be included in Paul's interestingly named 'chav' category. I play flute, myself and can struggle through a simple classical guitar piece, but my strumming leaves a lot to be desired.
    Paul might be surprised by some of the results that I suspect he will record in his experiment...

    Nice talking to you,
  21. Mar 23, 2005 #20
    can anybody else feel the music in their head? I mean literally feel it? Because certain musical notes resonate in different parts of my mind and I can actually know where and in which parts.
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