While Miley Cyrus’ recent VMA performance still has you confused (and maybe excited… but mostly confused), here’s another mind-boggling bit of news about the singer. A recent study reportedly led by a British psychologist says the more you listen to her songs, the greater your tendency to exhibit intelligence and creativity becomes. Maybe there is something to “just bein’ Miley”…
Dr. Emma Gray of The British CBT and Counseling Service in London was commissioned by music streaming service Spotify to conduct the research and focus on what type of music benefits what topics of study. According to her findings, every subject has music that’s compatible with it, and that listening to the right kind can maximize focus and knowledge absorption.
Classical music – which has always been the typical study music genre of choice – has been found to be compatible with math, causing students to do 12 percent better on their exams. So if you have a trig quiz coming up, better load up on Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, Tchaikovsky, and Mozart so your mind can be in the best state for serious brainstorming and problem solving.
Meanwhile, pop-rock songs like Katy Perry’s Firework have been found to produce a heightened sense of excitement and creativity that can be useful for subjects like English, drama, and art. Same can probably be true for inspirational anthems like Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger, Jessie J’s Domino, David Guetta’s Titanium, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s Can’t Hold Us. What is it about popular rock music that makes it suitable for studying and how does it affect the brain? “It is important that the music is in the range of 50-80 beats per minute as this can help to induce the alpha state where the mind is calm but alert, imagination stimulated and concentration heightened, a state of mind that is thought to be the best for learning,” Gray explains to us. “Rock music in this range may stir emotions and stimulate the right side of the brain and because of its ideology of authenticity and originality it may help to generate an atmosphere suited to students studying creative subjects.”
And who would’ve thought that songs like Justin Timberlake’s Mirrors or Miley Cyrus’ We Can’t Stop can encourage logical thinking and remembering new information? According to Gray, when studying subjects that require logical thinking and problem solving, it is better to choose songs that have a calming effect on the mind to aid concentration; for right-brain subjects, creativity is fostered more by tracks that reflect the feelings the student is trying to convey.