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Musician Brains

October 27, 2008

Trained musicians use both sides of their brains more effectively than non-musicians.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

The two sides of a musician….I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A new study suggests that musicians use their brains differently than other people. Vanderbilt University researchers matched 20 students who had an average of 11 years of musical training with students who had no musical training at all. The researchers gave them problem-solving tasks while measuring the activity of the prefrontal cortex of their brains. Clinical psychologist Brad Folley says this area is thought to be the brain’s creativity center.

BRAD FOLLEY (Vanderbilt University):
And what we found was // that the musicians had a more clear pattern of left and right brain activity in their prefrontal cortex than non-musicians did, and in fact, non-musicians tended to use more of their left hemisphere for these tasks.

HIRSHON:
He says musicians coordinate both hands while playing, and often read music at the same time, activities which require both sides of the brain. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.