Music Mends Memories in the Injured Brain

Psychology of Music and Healing Effects of the Human Brain

I was recently included on an album of positive music (www.PositiveMusicImperative.com). I was speaking on the importance of positive music, lyrics in particular, as a critical means to offset the natural negativity bias of the human mind. The negative is more powerful than the positive by a factor of 3 to 1. Honestly, I’m pretty excited about this. I never dreamt I would be on an album. Of course, I’m speaking not singing. I can’t sing to save my life. And music has always been a passion of mine. I use it to connect with teenage clients. I use it as a healthy ‘drug’ to alter my moods, thoughts and to call up memories.

Today, a new study came out demonstrating, once again, the power of music. In a novel study,  Amee Baird and Séverine Samson used top 40 music to spark lost memories in individuals with acquired brain injury (ABI).

While the sample size is small, this is the very first study to look at the effectiveness of ‘music-evoked autobiographical memories’ (MEAMs) in patients with ABIs, rather than ‘normals’ or those who grapple with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Baird and Samson played pieces of Billboard’s number 1 songs to five patients in random order.  The songs were pulled from across the lifespan of each patient starting from the year they were five years old and continuing to present day.  The performance of those with ABI was compared to individuals with no brain injury. All participants reported to what extent they knew a given song, the extent to which they liked it, and what memories, if any, the song brought up.

Positive psychology music how can i be happy coach dr. john schinnerer san ramon danville ca
Music Heals the Mind and Memories

 

Results showed that the number of recorded MEAMs was nearly identical for ABI patients (38%-71%) and ‘normals’ (48%-71%). Only one of the five ABI patients recorded no music assisted memories. Surprisingly, the highest frequency of MEAMs out of all the participants was recorded by an ABI patients.

Across all participants, the majority of music assisted memories were of people or a life event and were most fequently positive in nature. There was a strong connection between songs that sparked a memory and reported familiarity and enjoyment of those same songs.

While the sample size was small, early indicators seem to show the strength of using music as a tool for helping patients reclaim recollections. Baird and Samson state that: “Music was more efficient at evoking autobiographical memories than verbal prompts of the Autobiographical Memory Interview (AMI) across each life period, with a higher percentage of MEAMs for each life period compared with AMI scores.”

 

positive psychology of music dr john schinnerer guide to self happiness happy
Music therapy – healing the mind one song at a time

“The findings suggest that music is an effective stimulus for eliciting autobiographical memories and may be beneficial in the rehabilitation of autobiographical amnesia, but only in patients without a fundamental deficit in autobiographical recall memory and intact pitch perception.”

As we learn more and more about the power of music, one thing seems clear…there exists a powerful relationship between attention, mood, memory, and music. We are beginning to understand the direct relationship between attention and emotion.

 

What we attend to affects what we feel.

How we feel influences that to which we pay attention.

How we feel impacts our memories.

What we recall affects the degree to which we judge life as satisfying.

 

Music powerfully influences our attention, our memory, as well as emotion. It may even impact our self-worth and our judgments of how satisfying life is. These all seem to be inextricably intertwined.  So pay attention to what music you use to fill your head. It may have a larger impact than you ever dreamed!

 

To life, love and good music!

Dr. John Schinnerer

Positive Psychology Coach

Anger Management Specialist

Award-winning author of Guide To Self: The Beginner’s Guide to Managing Emotion & Thought

Founder, Guide to Self, Inc.

913 San Ramon Valley Blvd. #280

Danville CA 94526

Positive psychology blog: http://DrJohnBlog.GuideToSelf.com 

Anger management blog:

http://WebAngerManagement.com

Twitter: @johnschin

 

Journal Reference:

  1. A. Baird, S. Samson. Music evoked autobiographical memory after severe acquired brain injury: Preliminary findings from a case series. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 2013; : 1 DOI: 10.1080/09602011.2013.858642

 

Taylor & Francis (2013, December 10). Music brings memories back to the injured brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 11, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2013/12/131210072030.htm

Selling Booze to Teens Via Top 40 Music Lyrics

Marketing Alcohol to Kids and Teens in Song

One of my passions is the ways in which we are influenced without our knowledge. These are referred to as subconscious influences. And it turns out we are far more easily influenced than we realize.

Priming studies have consistently shown that we are influenced by a task as simple as unscrambling four sentences. Given the right word, these priming tasks have been shown to effect short term memory, pace of walking, aggression, degree of politeness, and body posture.

So it was with great interest that I looked at this new study looking at the effects of music lyrics on alcohol consumption in teens in the United Kingdom. As one in five songs in the top ten in the UK reference booze, do these lyrics have any impact on teen drinking? Which raises other critical questions, if behavior is affected by lyrics, what effect are the myriad of songs referencing prescription pill use, marijuana use, illegal drug use having?

Mention of alcohol is so blatant in songs, I’ve wondered if alcohol companies are paying musicians for product mentions in songs. What better way is there to market to the younger generation?!

Several experts argue that recent evidence shows that public health messages on alcohol may be drowning amidst the louder and more ubiquitous messages from some genres within the music industry.

Researchers from Liverpool John Moores University found that older children and teens listen to more than two hours of music daily. Researchers in the United States have documented a rise in alcohol and drug references, including mention of specific liquor brands and types (e.g., Patron), in popular music. But until recently, little data was available on comparable UK trends. Hardcastle’s team selected four years for analysis, comparing music charts across four decades. They discovered a significant increase in the number of times alcohol was mentioned.

Top ten songs in the early 1980s contained relatively few references to alcohol, with the number declining further in 1991. Rave culture was popular in this period; a music scene linked more to Ecstasy than alcohol. But  alcohol references returned by 2001, showing up in eight percent of popular hits. This figure continues to rise, more than doubling by 2011, with almost one in five (18.5%) top ten songs featuring alcohol-related lyrics. This pattern is consistent with US trends, although UK charts still have fewer alcohol mentions than their US counterparts.

Alcohol-related song lyrics are associated with hip hop and rap and US artists, with lyrics generally putting a positive spin on alcohol consumption. Drinking is linked to confidence, outgoingness or physical attractiveness, as well as outcomes such as money, fame, and sex. Popular artists sing about the negative effects of alcohol far less frequently.

 

Positive psychology and teens
Negative Side of Teen Drinking

 

Lyrics have an impact beyond the US and UK, pointing out that US and British songs often have global appeal. For example, US artist Katy Perry’s 2011 single “Last Friday Night” detailing excessive drinking and risk-taking behavior, achieved a top 10 position not only in the US and the UK, but also in 15 other countries.

How Can I Be happy
Katy Perry – Lyrics Influencing the Youth?

So what impact do these alcohol references have on young people? It is highly likely that we underestimate the true impact of exposure to pro-alcohol messages young people hear, says lead researcher Katherine Hardcastle:

“Public health concerns are already focused on the impacts of alcohol advertising on the drinking behaviours of young people, yet the growing reference to alcohol in popular music could mean that alcohol promoting messages are reaching much larger audiences; regardless of restrictions (e.g. age) on direct advertising.”

Children Exposed to Pro-Alcohol Lyrics May Be Influenced to Drink Earlier

The study concludes that:

“The exposure of young people to alcohol in the media is a major concern given its potential impact on drinking behaviours […] A greater understanding of the impacts of alcohol-related popular music content on young listeners is urgently needed. Health and other professionals should be vigilant for increases in alcohol-related lyrics and work to ensure that popular music does not become a medium for reinforcing and extending cultures of intoxication and alcohol-related harm.”

Given that we listen to our favorite songs hundreds, if not thousands, of times, it seems safe to assume that frequent repetition of pro-alcohol and pro-drug lyrics will normalize such behaviors making them somewhat more likely to occur.

Positive psychology and marijuana
Wiz Khalifa with the Ubiquitous Blunt

In my private practice, I see this frequently with male adolescents who are listening exclusively to rap and hip-hop. While I enjoy several songs of Wiz Khalifa and 2 Chainz, I also know enough to listen to them infrequently. Our emotional mind is trained most effectively via repetition. Listening to pro-marijuana lyrics thousands of times is likely to influence minds which are already open to suggestions.

Keep an open mind!

Dr. John

John Schinnerer, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology Coach
Anger Management Specialist
Expert Consultant to Pixar
Founder, Guide to Self, Inc.
913 San Ramon Valley Blvd. #280
Danville CA 94526
Positive psychology blog: http://drjohnblog.guidetoself.com 
Anger management blog:
http://WebAngerManagement.com
Main site:
www.GuideToSelf.com
Twitter: @johnschin

 

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by SAGE Publications, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Journal Reference:

  1. Katherine A. Hardcastle, Karen Hughes, Olivia Sharples, and Mark A. Bellis. Trends in alcohol portrayal in popular music: A longitudinal analysis of the UK charts. Psychology of Music, September 2013 DOI: 10.1177/0305735613500701

Music Decreases Childrens’ Perception of Pain – New Study 2013

July 15, 2013

A recently released study by medical researchers at the University of Alberta show increasing evidence that music decreases children’s perceived sense of pain.


Positive psychology of music
Music helps kids relax during medical procedures

The Alberta team ran a clinical research trial of 42 children between ages of 3 and 11 who visited the pediatric ER department at the Stollery Children’s Hospital and needed IVs. Some children listened to music while having the IV administered, while other kids did not. Children’s distress, perceived pain levels and heart rates, as well as satisfaction levels of parents, and satisfaction levels of health-care providers who administered the IVs were all measured.

“We did find a difference in the children’s reported pain — the children in the music group had less pain immediately after the procedure,” says lead researcher Lisa Hartling. “The finding is clinically important and it’s a simple intervention that can make a big difference. Playing music for kids during painful medical procedures would be an inexpensive and easy-to-use intervention in clinical settings.”

The study demonstrated that children who listened to pleasant music perceived significantly less pain, some showed significantly less physical distress, and the children’s parents reported higher satisfaction with care.

In the music listening group, 76 per cent of health-care providers said the IVs were very easy to administer — a markedly higher number than the non-music group where only 38 per cent of health-care providers said the procedure was very easy. Researchers also noticed that the children who had been born premature experienced more distress overall.

Hartling and her team hope to continue their research in this area, to see if music or other distractions can make a big difference for kids undergoing other painful medical procedures. The pain and distress from medical procedures can have “long-lasting negative effects” for children, note the researchers.

Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry researcher Lisa Hartling led the research team that involved her colleagues from the Department of Pediatrics, as well as fellow researchers from the University of Manitoba and the United States. Their findings were published in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Pediatrics today.

 

Music, Emotion & Hormones: Why You Act the Way You Do!

June 13, 2012 in Psychology & Psychiatry

The velvety voice of Elvis Presley still makes hearts flutter—and in a new study with people who have the rare genetic disorder Williams syndrome, one of the King’s classics is among a group of songs that helped to cast light on part of the essence of being human: the mystery of emotion and human interaction.

In a study led by Julie R. Korenberg, Ph.D., M.D., University of Utah/USTAR professor, Circuits of the Brain and pediatrics, people with and without Williams syndrome (WS) listened to music in a trial to gauge emotional response through the release of oxytocin and arginine vasopressin (AVP), two hormones associated with emotion. The study, published June 12, 2012, in PLoS ONE, signals a paradigm shift both for understanding human emotional and behavioral systems and expediting the treatments of devastating illnesses such as WS, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and possibly even autism, according to Korenberg, senior author on the study and one of the world’s leading experts in genetics, brain, and behavior of WS.

“Our results could be very important for guiding the treatment of these disorders,” Korenberg says. “It could have enormous implications for personal the use of drugs to help people.”

The study also is the first to reveal new genes that control emotional responses and to show that AVP is involved in the response to music.

Williams syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder caused by the deletion of 25 to 28 genes on one copy of chromosome 7. Those with the disorder look at the world through a unique lens. They may view everyone as their friend, to the point of running up to total strangers and striking up conversations as though they are old acquaintances. They have an affinity for music. But they also experience heightened anxiety, have an average IQ of 60, experience severe spatial-visual problems, and suffer from cardiovascular and other health issues. Despite their desire to befriend people, they have difficulty creating and maintaining social relationships, something that is not at all understood but can afflict many people without WS.

Korenberg and colleagues from the U of U, University of Illinois, Chicago, and the Salk Institute, La Jolla, Calif., conducted a trial with 21 participants, 13 who have WS and a control group of eight people without the disorder. The participants were evaluated at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Because music is a known strong emotional stimulus, the researchers asked participants to listen to music.

Before the music was played, the participants’ blood was drawn to determine a baseline level for oxytocin, and those with WS had three times as much of the hormone as those without the syndrome. Blood also was drawn at regular intervals while the music played and was analyzed afterward to check for real-time, rapid changes in the levels of oxytocin and AVP. Other studies have examined how oxytocin affects emotion when artificially introduced into people, such as through nasal sprays, but this is the one of the first significant studies to measure naturally occurring changes in oxytocin levels in rapid, real time as people undergo an emotional response.

Researchers asked the first participant to listen to the 1950s Elvis classic, “Love Me Tender.” The woman showed no outward response to the song, which can be typical not only of people with WS but particularly of people without the disorder whose faces may be impassive but jump up at the end of an exciting piece, Korenberg points out. But, to elicit a greater response from the remaining test participants, the researchers invited them to bring their favorite music to listen to—and many of them chose heavy metal. Again, there was little outward response to the music.

But when the blood samples were analyzed, the researchers were happily surprised. The analyses showed that the oxytocin levels, and to a lesser degree AVP, had not only increased but begun to bounce among WS participants while among those without WS, both the oxytocin and AVP levels remained largely unchanged as they listened to music. Interestingly, the oxytocin level in the woman who’d listened to “Love Me Tender” skyrocketed compared to the levels of participants who listened to different music.

Korenberg believes the blood analyses strongly indicate that oxytocin and AVP are not regulated correctly in people with WS, and that the behavioral characteristics unique to people with WS are related to this problem.

“This shows that oxytocin quite likely is very involved in emotional response,” Korenberg says.

To ensure accuracy of results, those taking the test also were asked to place their hands in 60-degree Fahrenheit water to test for negative stress, and the same results were produced as when they listened to music. Those with WS experienced an increase in oxytocin and AVP, while those without the syndrome did not.

Listening to Elvis was part of a larger study, published in the June 12, 2012 issue of PLoS One, that shows for the first time that oxytocin and another hormone associated with emotion, arginine vasopressin (AVP), are poorly regulated in people with WS and that atypical levels of oxytocin are linked to both the desire to seek social interaction and decreased ability to process social clues.

WS is ideal for studying how genes influence social behavior and emotion, according to Korenberg. Unlike other social disorders, the cause of Williams syndrome is known, which is critical for pinpointing areas of the brain and genes related to the disorder. It also could be extremely important in finding drug targets for WS.

In addition to listening to music, study participants already had taken three standard social behavior tests that evaluate willingness to approach and speak to strangers, emotional states, and various areas of adaptive and problem behavior. Those test results suggest that increased levels of oxytocin are linked to both increased desire to seek social interaction and decreased ability to process social cues, a double-edged message that may be very useful at times, for example, during courtship, but damaging at others, as in Williams syndrome.

“The association between abnormal levels of oxytocin and AVP and altered social behaviors found in people with Williams Syndrome points to surprising, entirely unsuspected deleted genes involved in regulation of these hormones and human sociability,” Korenberg said. “It also suggests that the simple characterization of oxytocin as ‘the love hormone’ may be an overreach. The data paint a far more complicated picture.”

However, the picture is very hopeful, and the study provides a key breakthrough that lights the way to making rapid progress in treating WS, and perhaps Autism and anxiety through regulation of these key players in human brain and emotion, oxytocin and vasopressin. It is important that work in the very near future may allow us to know how to adjust the dial on the OT and AVP system and its effects in different brain regions in ways that relieve suffering and improve the lives of those with the disorder, according to Korenberg.

http://www.eminemlab.com/images/wallpapers/Eminem-01-1024x768b.jpg

In particular, the study results indicate that the missing genes affect the release of oxytocin and AVP through the hypothalmus and the pituitary gland. About the size of a pearl, the hypothalamus is located just above the brain stem and produces hormones that control body temperature, hunger, mood, sex drive, sleep, hunger and thirst, and the release of hormones from many glands, including the pituitary. The pituitary gland, about the size of a pea, controls many other glands responsible for hormone secretion. The results of this study points to new clues as to what makes us and may prevent us from being just a bit more human.

Journal reference: PLoS ONE search and more info website

Provided by University of Utah Health Sciences search and more info website

Keep the faith!
John

John Schinnerer, Ph.D.

Positive Psychology Coach

Author of the award-winning Guide To Self: The Beginner’s Guide To Managing Emotion & Thought

Guide To Self, Inc.

913 San Ramon Valley Blvd. #280

Danville CA 94526

GuideToSelf.comWeb site

WebAngerManagement.com – 10-week online anger management course

DrJohnBlog.GuideToSelf.com  Awarded #1 Blog in Positive Psychology by PostRank, Top 100 Blog by Daily Reviewer

@johnschinTwitter

How Music Connects Us – Eric Whitacre at TED with ‘Sleep’

How Music Connects People – Eric Whitacre at TED with ‘Sleep’

The human spirit is lifted through music, regardless of proximity or time.

As much as I hate to admit it, life is about relationships and connection.

Happiness, our satisfaction with life, is strongly related to quality relationships.

Relationships hinge on connection.

Music connects us. Music brings us together.

John Schinnerer, Ph.D.
Founder, Guide to Self, Inc.

For a FREE PDF copy of John’s award-winning self-help book on proven exercises to increase human connection, to turn down the volume on negative emotions and ways to turn up the volume on positive emotions, including mindfulness tips, visit GuideToSelf.com. Click on the yellow book icon and enter your name and email address for instant access!

For FREE online anger management courses, visit WebAngerManagement.com where you can have full access to 4 free anger management classes by anger management expert John Schinnerer, Ph.D. 

There is also a full 10 week course on Positive Psychology of Anger Management available at the same site for the ridiculously low price of $297.