Posts Tagged ‘art’

Cognitive Training uses Music to Boost Verbal IQ

Music is one of the best ways to charge up  your cognitive performance in both the short and long term. What differentiates music from noise or other sounds? It is exactly its ability to authentically move our hearts and extend our minds. Music is brain boosting technology by definition. That’s why in the Next Brain blog we are always on the look out for applications that use music to improve brain function or enhance cognitive performance.

For example, a new study by The Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada, York University and others showed that students 4-6 years old experience a measurable increase in IQ after just 20 days of music-based cognitive training. The improvement showed up in before and after testing and EEG brain imaging.

The music-based cognitive training included interactive cartoons that delivered lessons twice each day for one hour.   A picture of the cartoon is included in this post. To see more watch a  video.

While only one study, the results are significant.  An impressive 90% of the 48 students in the study show improvement in verbal intelligence after just 40 hours of training. There was a control group and the differences showed up in an EEG that measure functional brain activity. The effects should be long lasting.  For more details check out the press release on the Association of Psychological Science web site.

Interested to hear from readers that use music-based training programs.

8 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Mark Clare - October 8, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Categories: Child, Music and Audio, Software, Training   Tags:

Art Forms as Cognitive Enhancers?

There is growing scientific evidence that experiencing art both passively and actively can improve brain function and cognitive performance.   Art is used as a form of cognitive therapy with older adults and art training is advocated for children by some experts:

Michael Posner argues that when children find an art form that sustains their interest, the subsequent strengthening of their brains’ attention networks can improve cognition more broadly.

Experiencing art means experiencing beauty which is powerful emotive and intellectual stuff.  There are many anecdotal claims that it enhances mental energy, creativity, improves focus and relieves stress.

Some readers of the Next Brain Blog (including myself) have reported success with a very simple art-based technique.

  1. Find an a new art form that deeply resonates with you. Mine turned out to be the work of Juri Morioka (see sample above).
  2. Acquire legal, affordable and high quality copies.
  3. Consciously experience it on a daily or frequent basis.

It is important to find a new art form, not one you have always liked.  Also you may need to change the specific pieces you experience periodically to maintain the intensity of the cognitive effects.

Interested to hear from readers that use this or other art-based techniques to enhance brain function and cognitive performance.

Image source: Paintings by Juri Morioka

9 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Mark Clare - April 16, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Categories: Child, Cognitive Decline, Cognitive Development, Lifestyle, Mental Focus, Older Adult, Perception   Tags:

How Arts Training Makes You Smarter

The Dana foundation funded a three-year study involving cognitive neuroscientists from seven leading universities to figure out if  training the arts makes us smarter.  The results, published in Learning, Arts and the Brain, are important for those interested in specific techniques for improving brain function and cognitive performance.

Training in the arts does make us smarter:

  • Learning performance arts in general improves capacity for mental focus and attention
  • Studying acting improves memory function
  • Studying dance improves observational skills
  • Practicing music improves geometric reasoning skills

No real surprises here but the research uncovers the mechanisms at work and separates claims of cause and effect from correlations.  In previous posts on the Next Brain Blog we discussed the powerful cognitive development effects of learning to play an instrument.

Interested to hear from readers that train in the Art and believe they get a brain boost from it.

1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by Mark Clare - November 5, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Categories: Other   Tags: