How does a person’s individuality, their likes and dislikes, skills and talents, depend on their particular brain growth? Neuroscientist John Iversen envisions a future where a person’s education is based on their specific brain development to help each person meet their highest individual potential.
Iversen imagines that when children go to the doctor and receive their height and weight measurements, their growth chart will also include brain growth measurements. Neurological mapping technologies can already show us measurements of the average growth in certain areas of the brain. So children will see how certain areas of their brain development compares to their age’s average, and which areas need more stimulation.
So what does music have to do with measuring brain development or influencing brain development? Neurological researchers often look for connections between behavioral measures and brain measures, but a less popular area of neurological studies is music cognition research.
We know that music evokes memories and has many positive academic and social benefits. Through neurological mapping technology we know that the brain is touched, activated and deactivated, by music, and this technology can show us exactly which areas of the brain are stimulated by music. Iversen wants to use music as a tool to help understand and influence the brain.
As a researcher for the SYMPHONY Study at UCSD, Iversen currently conducts a study in schools to examine correlations between music students and improved rhythm perception, rhythm perception and improved language tests, and finally beat perception tests and larger areas of the brain’s cortex. Iversen wonders whether music enlarges certain important areas of the brain and whether music can target the development of certain areas of the brain. Based on the suggestions of his profound research, Iversen makes a progressive claim about who can benefit the most from musical training.