Music and mind: Can Mozart really sharpen your neural connections?

Music is a universal component of human culture. From the Jazz clubs of New Orleans, to the symphony orchestras of Carnegie Hall, to the traditional Indonesian gamelan ensembles — it is clear that as a species, we are compelled to express ourselves through music.

Even as casual observers or listeners, there’s no denying that music can have a profound effect on us. It can make us get up and dance, and it can make us cry. It can be awe-inspiring, and it can also make us rip off our headphones or reach for the off switch.

But can music change the way that we think? Does listening to Mozart make us more creative, or perhaps smarter, as some researchers would have us believe? Do music lessons — the bane of many a childhood —  actually boost our IQ?

In the latest episode of Up Close, I spoke with cognitive psychologist Professor Glenn Schellenberg, an expert in the field of music cognition from the University of Toronto. Glenn was once a musician and composer himself, but now he studies music’s effect on us. Listen to the podcast or download the transcript here.

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