Music’s Influence on Intelligence
From Healing Mantras: Using Sound Affirmations for Personal Power, Creativity, and Healing by Thomas Ashley – Farrand; 1999; pages 25 – 26:
Music’s well-documented effects extend even to other life forms. In his book The Secret Life of Plants, Peter Tompkins describes an experiment in which four plant groups were given identical lighting, soil, watering schedule, and so forth. One group listened to rock and roll for several hours each day. A second group heard jazz and a third, classical compositions. The remaining plants formed a control group that had no musical stimulus whatsoever.
Within a few days, the plants exposed to rock and roll had inclined away from the speakers at a thirty-degree angle. They were also somewhat stunted in their growth compared to the control group. The plants exposed to jazz exhibited various results, depending upon the artist; they seemed particularly fond of Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. But the most dramatic results were seen in the plants that heard classical music. They had grown more than any other group. What’s more, they had aligned themselves at a sixty-degree angle toward the speakers, as if trying to get as close to the source of the sound as possible. A “favorite” sound of these plants were recordings of Ravi Shankar playing ragas — the Indian equivalent of Western symphonies.
This procedure has been repeated, with similar results. In 1970, a version of the experiment performed by some college students was reported on the CBS Evening News. One of the students had shown the results on videotape to a local rock musician and received this startled response: “If rock music does that to the plants, what’s it doing to me?”
During the last decade, other research on the beneficial physical and psychological effects of music has yielded the following:
“Students who study music scored higher on both the verbal and math portions of the SAT than nonmusic students.”
– College Entrance Examination Board, October 1996
“In a study of medical school applicants, 66 percent of music majors who applied to medical school were admitted, the highest percentage of any group. Only 44 percent of biochemistry majors were admitted.”
– Lewis Thomas, Phi Beta Kappa lecture, February 1994
“Preschoolers who studied piano performed 34 percent better in spatial and temporal reasoning ability than preschoolers who spent the same amount of time learning to use computers.”
– F.H. Rauscher and G.L. Shaw, Neurological Research, Feburary 1997
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