Making music would help boost creativity

Making music would help boost creativity

Creativity is among the most remarkable, but also the most mysterious, human faculties. While the myth is that innovative ideas appear out of nowhere, they are, in reality, the result of complex mechanisms involving several brain networks. Practicing music would facilitate this creative process.

Researchers affiliated with the Italian universities of Aquila and Teramo came to this conclusion after conducting an experiment involving 83 healthy participants, with an average age of 19 to 20 years old. Some of them studied music at the conservatory, while others never received a formal education in the fourth art. All volunteers completed several tests assessing their working memory and divergent thinking, regardless of their level of musical training.

The notion of “divergent thinking” refers to the ability to generate numerous and varied ideas. It is opposed to “convergent thinking”, or the ability to find a defined solution to a given problem. Previous studies have shown that divergent thinking is influenced by various psychological factors, including personality traits and emotional intelligence, but also by cognitive processes such as working memory.

Working memory allows you to manipulate and retain information while performing a task or activity. It is what allows us, for example, to perform mental calculations or to remember a telephone number long enough to write it down. It functions as a buffer in which events, words, dates or images are fixed fleetingly, before being forgotten or stored in long-term memory.

The authors of this study, published in the journal Brain Science, noted that individuals who received formal musical education appear to have better working memory. They also performed better on the divergent thinking assessment test. The academics therefore concluded that “musical practice increases divergent thinking through working memory skills, which enable divergent thinking to activate associative processes and allocate attention resources.”

This study highlights the importance of musical education in the development of cognitive abilities. However, it should be noted that it was conducted on a relatively small number of participants, all of similar ages. Different results could therefore emerge from research conducted on more varied demographic groups.

However, this research sheds new light on the benefits of musical education for the development of the mind. Listening to music, singing or playing an instrument has multiple benefits on the overall cognitive functioning of the brain throughout life. All the more reason to encourage learning and practicing music from an early age.

The benefits of music on our brain

Slide: The benefits of music on our brain