schokoladen scharf / hot chocolate

Music and the Brain: Some New Interesting Research

The effect that music has on the human brain never ceases to be amazing. Two new pieces of research have come out recently that show some interesting things. The first research suggests that music can have an affect on the way chocolate tastes. The second gives more proof to the benefits of music lessons.

Yes, you read that right. Listening to music can change the way you taste chocolate. From the Daily Mail: “Food scientists have found they can alter the sensation of creaminess in a piece of chocolate by playing different sounds to people as they eat”.

The research suggests that listening to a series of soft notes can make dark chocolate taste creamier while short, sharp notes plucked on a violin can make the same chocolate taste bitter. In fact, researchers from the University of Oxford are working with chocolatiers in Belgium to create a box of chocolates meant to be eaten with a soundtrack. Furthermore, this research contemplates the idea that other foods could be matched to music for an enhanced experience.

As for the other research, brain scans showed that music lessons could boost your brain power. The Daily Mail reports:

“Incredible brain scans show boosted connections in children after just nine months of practice, contributing to better brain development.

“Researchers believe that music lessons could be used to help treat children with brain development disorders, such as autism”.

Previous research has shown that music lessons do help children, however researchers in Mexico City at the Hospital Infantil de México Federico Gómez want to understand why.

The researchers studied 23 healthy five and six year olds who had never had musical training before. First, each child had their brain scanned using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), which scans the brain’s white matter. DTI measures the movement of water along the nerve fibres, called axons, that connect the various regions of the brain.

After nine months of music lessons, the children’s brains were scanned again and the results revealed that the movement of water molecules along the axons had improved. Due to previous studies linking autism and ADHD with decreased fibre connections in the brain’s white tissue, the results of this study strongly suggest that music lessons can help children with autism and ADHD.

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