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For most music lovers, the appropriate song can improve even the worst day, but according to recent Japanese research, “groovy” music might even improve brain function.

Researchers from the University of Tsukuba claim that listening to “music with a groove” can greatly improve tests of executive functioning and the brain function that goes along with it. However, there is a catch: You need to be acquainted with the song.

Listening to Groovy music can enhance executive functioning 

According to study authors, groovy music typically arouses pleasure sensations while also raising “behavioral arousal levels.” The investigators proposed that dancing to upbeat music may improve the brain in a way similar to how exercise has been shown to help enhance cognition.

Nevertheless, no scientific study looked into how groove beats affected the brain’s work. So, scientists made the decision to complete the task themselves. They especially set out to look at how dance music affected brain activity in regions linked to executive function, like the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. 

Professor Hideaki Soya, the lead author of the study, stated in a university statement that it is uncertain whether these factors have an impact on executive functioning. Accordingly, in the current research, the investigators analyzed individual psychological reactions to groove rhythm and performed brain imaging to examine related changes in executive function.

What effects does cool music have on the brain?

The investigators used a color-word pairing test with functioning near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), a neuroimaging technology, to examine and evaluate executive brain activities before and after playing music. In addition, participants filled out surveys that looked at their subjective impressions of the cool music.

The outcomes were unexpected, according to Prof. Soya. Only individuals who indicated that the music evoked a powerful groove feeling and a sense of clarity indicated that the groove beat boosted executive functioning in the l-DLPFC.

These mental reactions to rhythmic grooves may potentially foretell alterations in executive functioning and l-DLPFC activity. The results show that individual variations in psychological reactions to groove music influence executive functioning.