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Study: Musicians' Brains Highly Developed

     _____________________________________________________________________ Music_and_Brain-DevelopmenttNew research suggests that if you want to be alert, disposed to seeing the whole picture, calm and playful, you should learn to play a musical instrument.

A collaborative study to be published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition has found that musicians' brains are highly developed, sharing the same positive traits found in world-class athletes, top-level managers and also people who meditate regularly.

These traits are related to higher mind brain development and it appears that this represents a basic potential to excel at something. Researchers assess mind brain development in a number oif ways.

EEG analysis reveals that people with higher mind development exhibit special patterns in the electrical activity of the brain. The frontal lobes, important for planning and logical thinking, tend to be well coordinated.

Alpha-waves are also more dominant. Alpha-waves are electrical currents in the brain that oscillate in the range of 7.5-13 cycles per second. Experts believe that alpha-waves occur when we piece individual elements into a whole and when we are in a relaxed state such as during meditation.

Another EEG measure shows that people with high mind development use their brain resources economically. They are alert and ready for action when appropriate but adopt a relaxed 'wait and see' type of attitude.

Muscians and people with higher mind development typically score very well on moral reasoning questionnaires and report having more 'peak experiences'. Peak experiences are certain transpersonal and ecstatic states, particularly ones tinged with themes of euphoria, harmonization and interconnectedness.

Lead researcher Fred Davis from the Maharishi University of Management in the US emphasizes that everything we do changes our brain. Meditation and making music are both good ways to facilitate higher mind development. But you can make progress by following common health recommendations: get enough sleep, work out physically and eat healthily.

See: Study Shows Meditation Changes Brain Structure in Just 8 Weeks

How you think also plays a role. "If you are a very envious, angry, mean person and that's the way you think about people that's what's going to be strengthened in your brain. But if you are very expanded and open and supportive of others, there will be different connections," says Fred Travis.

These findings were interpreted in light of a Unified Theory of Performance, which posits that effectiveness in any area is influenced by one’s level of mind-brain development—emotional, cognitive, moral, ego and cortical development—with higher mind-brain development supporting greater effectiveness in any domain.

Research was conducted by Fred Travis, Maharishi University of Management in the US, Harald Harung, Oslo University College in Norway, and Yvonne Lagrosen, University West in Sweden.

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Reference:

  1. Frederick Travis, Harald S. Harung, Yvonne Lagrosen. Moral development, executive functioning, peak experiences and brain patterns in professional and amateur classical musicians: Interpreted in light of a Unified Theory of Performance. Consciousness and Cognition, 2011

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