Brain Trust Response



“What are some ways in which participation in the arts can improve attention?
Team D explored the effects of training in music, dance, visual arts and drama vis-à-vis enhancing the brain’s neural networks and consequently cognition in general, and attention in particular.
Music: “The Mozart Effect” purports that college students improved spatial reasoning skills when exposed to classical music. This in turn helped them improve their performance in math. Stanford University adds further credence to this theory when in a published study, Baker notes, “that musical techniques used by researchers 200 years ago help the brain organize incoming information” (Baker, M.2010 p.6).
Dance:
Dance can be the creative niche that allows students to express themselves, and at the same time, encode new information. Dance holds the attention of students because they are experiencing pleasure while performing (dopamine release). They get into the beat of the music; therefore, information processing flows sequentially rather than being a series of staccato facts. The students are thus motivated to continue with the activity. Upon completion, if students have moved sufficiently, they are now in a relaxed but alert state in which to continue learning.
Visual Arts:
Visual Arts improves attention by giving children a constant experience of novelty, visual, auditory, kinesthetic - often at their control. Endless options for media allows for one to choose their expression. Attention enables the piece to be truly expressive.
Drama:
Dramatizing means students will have to internalize the idea/story/concept in order to express it using their bodies. This process involves effortful control. When students participate in drama activities, they activate, use, and strengthen different parts of their brains rather than doing passive pencil and paper work. Students involved with the arts are also able to come up with more creative answers to questions.
References:
Baker, M. 2010 retrieved on November 18, 2010 from http://med.stanford.edu/news_releases/2007/july/music.html