Music for the brain – as a foreign language
The brain perceives music as another foreign language. This is the conclusion reached by scientists from the University of Liverpool, who investigated the brain area, which was previously considered to be associated exclusively with the function of speech, among musicians. It turned out that they, regardless of the instrument they owned, had more gray matter in this area of the brain than people who are far from music.
These data, according to the professor of behavioral neuroscience from the German University of Konstanz, Thomas Elbert, “agree well with the existing view that musicians treat music as an additional language.” This scientist also studies the activity of the motor cortex while playing musical instruments.
In the present study, conducted by British neurologists Vanessa Slaming (Vanessa Sluming) and Neil Roberts (Neil Roberts), 26 musicians participated – men aged 26 to 66 years. A control group of people who are not involved in music, was selected by age. The study of the Broca zone was carried out using three-dimensional magnetic resonance tomography.
It turned out that the increase in the volume of gray matter, that is, nerve cells, in this speech zone did not depend on the type of musical instrument, the skill in which the subject sought, but was directly dependent on the number of years spent on music lessons. According to researchers, this means that language and music have much in common in the perception of the brain.
In addition to the obvious explanation that playing musical instruments develops the Brock zone, there is another possibility. As Professor Elbert noted, it is possible that people with a more developed Broca area are inclined to study music and achieve great success in this. Now he wants to check the assumption that these features of the brain of musicians should facilitate the assimilation of the school grammar course.