Music and Enhanced Function in Adolescence

I spend every second of my day listening to music.  It’s constantly in my head wether or not I have my headphones on or the radio is playing.  I was interested in finding out if my exposure to music as a child had any influence on my behaviors that I exhibit in my life everyday.  More specifically the brain functions and what enhances it in adolescence.  The articles I choose were studies done to show how music is beneficial to brain function in adolescence and even adults.

Research done on this was a study to explore whether musically inclined children and adolescents had a higher executive function than non-musical children.  There were already many studies that showed that cognitive function is highly correlated with more musically inclined subjects.  Results showed that more musically inclined individuals had the ability to process information more quickly and retain it, more healthy regulation of behaviors, better decision making and problem solving and, planning and adjusting to changes to emotional or mental demands.  Musically trained adolescents exhibited multiple higher functions that translated to other life skills. This study looked more specifically to how it effected executive function, which looks more in depth at achievements/goals and higher IQ’s.

The experiment summary is as follows; They had a set of musically trained adolescents and a control group of non-trained adolescents.  Each group was given a number of tasks to do and were asked to switch back and forth between assigned tasks while psychologist monitored their brain functions (fMRI used).  Study showed more enhanced brain activity in the musically trained students in the prefrontal cortex, one of the parts of the brain that correlate directly to executive function.

This relates to cognitive psychology because in class we talk about the brain processes and how it uses these processes to take in information from our daily environment.  During child development, the brain and what information is retained and how it is developed is key.

My sources I found were from the article examples Dr. R had posted and I found them useful.  They seemed like reliable sources and were in lay terms, understandable.  It was a bit difficult  to come by this information because so many studies had been done on this subject and I wanted to research something that was a bit more in depth than the usual cognitive function with music correlation.

My thoughts on this, is that that music does play a big part in cognitive development especially in children and adolescents.  We give children toys that crinkle, jingle, and blink to enhance sensory perception and improve that functions in the brain.  I think music does much similar things.  The study said that those who study music already do have an enhanced function that gravitates them towards music and gives them the discipline to stay in lessons and continue to strive in learning.  I think that that is important because no one can lack a certain function unless you have a disability and even still, those with disabilities, like ADHD in adults and adolescents, use music training as a sort of therapy, to enhance their mental functions.  This is more important in adolescents because their brains are constantly developing and enhanced executive function could be beneficial for their educational future as well as their ability to conquer certain tasks later on in life.