Whether it’s dancing or working out, many people find music helps them better perform physical activities.
A new study published by the University of Edinburgh provides evidence that listening to music while performing basic physical tasks strengthens linked structures between brain regions that control the comprehension of sounds and understanding of physical movement.
Thirty volunteers split into two groups, both of which learned a series of finger movements during a four-week span—one group listened to music while learning the activity and the other did not.
By the end of the four weeks, scientists determined that each group was equivalent in performing the activity. Brain scans, however, revealed that the group that listened to music exhibited physical growth of of the connective structures between motor and auditory comprehension in the right side of the brain. The group without a musical stimulant showed no change in these links.
Researchers believe that this discovery can aid physical therapists in creating rehabilitation programs for patients suffering from motor function problems—individuals who have experienced strokes or other brain damage would benefit the most.
That being said, this isn’t the first study which has found that music builds bonds in various parts of the brain. One study found that musicians had more developed sensory and communication skills. Music also helps children learn and improve their memories.
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Savannah McCoy is a freelance journalist based in Athens, Georgia. She is an avid sports fan and Game of Thrones junkie. Valar Morghulis.