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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Music stimulates both sides of the brain

What do you have in common with hens, cats, cows, and — oh yes, your philodendron? according to Marina Brown,

It’s what appears to be a universally positive response to music.


In 1993 the popularization of research called “the Mozart Effect” had parents scrambling to buy sonatas for their off-spring, hoping that listening to Mozart in the womb and in the crib would make babies smarter. Now much of that early vogue has been debunked. The supposed rise in IQ was found to be temporary, minimal, and positive findings could also be found when children listened to rhythmic, major-keyed nursery tunes like “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

But music does do something special to us when we hear it. And researchers are busy testing everything from gorillas to plants to see what it is. What do we know so far? Hens lay more eggs with music piped into their coops. Feral cats relax. Rats choose a box with classical music when presented with other boxes pulsing with rap or only silence. And even plants grow faster when peppy music of 60 beats/min is flowing across their leaves.

Great, you say. But what about people? What about grown-ups?