Which of these facts about your brain on music surprised you?

1. Music affects how we perceive things.

2. Listening to Mozart does not make you smarter.

3. Learning to play a musical instrument can improve other abilities.

4. Sometimes music can be really distracting!

5. Overall, music is probably good for our health.


“This is Your Brain on Music”
Written by Kate Fehlhaber
Video by David Jaimes
Music by Kevin Dean
Narrated by Bob Turton



Fact 1:

Woloszyn, M. R., & Ewert, L. (2012). Memory for facial expression is influenced by the background music playing during study. Advances in Cognitive Psychology / University of Finance and Management in Warsaw, 8(3), 226–233.

Fact 2:

Bridgett, D.J.; Cuevas, J. (2000). “Effects of listening to Mozart and Bach on the performance of a mathematical test”. Perceptual and Motor Skills 90(3 Pt 2): 1171–1175.

McKelvie, Pippa; Low, Jason (2002). “Listening to Mozart does not improve children’s spatial ability: Final curtains for the Mozart effect”. British Journal of Developmental Psychology 20 (2): 241.

Patel, Aniruddh D. Music, Language, and the Brain. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008.

Rauscher, Frances H.; Shaw, Gordon L.; Ky, Catherine N. (1993).”Music and spatial task performance” (PDF). Nature 365 (6447): 611.

Fact 3:

Zuk, Jennifer, Christopher Benjamin, Arnold Kenyon, and Nadine Gaab. “Behavioral and Neural Correlates of Executive Functioning in Musicians and Non-Musicians.” PLoS ONE 9.6 (2014).

Fact 4:

Warren Brodsky, Zack Slor. Background music as a risk factor for distraction among young-novice drivers. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 2013; 59: 382

Fact 5:

Karageorghis, Costas I., and David-Lee Priest. “Music in the Exercise Domain: A Review and Synthesis (Part I).” International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology 5.1 (2012): 44-66.

Karageorghis, Costas I., and David-Lee Priest. “Music in the Exercise Domain: A Review and Synthesis (Part II).” International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology 5.1 (2012): 67-84.

Salimpoor, Valorie N., Mitchel Benovoy, Kevin Larcher, Alain Dagher, and Robert J. Zatorre. “Anatomically Distinct Dopamine Release during Anticipation and Experience of Peak Emotion to Music.”Nature Neuroscience Nat Neurosci 14.2 (2011): 257-62.

Särkämö T, Ripollés P, Vepsäläinen H, Autti T, Silvennoinen HM, Salli E, Laitinen S, Forsblom A, Soinila S, Rodríguez-Fornells A. Structural changes induced by daily music listening in the recovering brain after middle cerebral artery stroke: a voxel-based morphometry study. Front Hum Neurosci. 2014 Apr 17;8:245.


  1. Great video! Sometimes science facts are hard to reference but here you point directly to specific studies. Could you please add either to the generic or below the references so that we can have access to the facts and data. Thanks again

  2. Will do 🙂 I’m an educator, researcher, entrepreneur, science advocate, human passionate about science and most importantly lifelong student. Just shared your piece on the Facebook page of Immerscience (english website coming)

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