Saturday, 2 October 2010

Rhythm and Reasoning Go Together?

An interesting story out of the Karolinski Institute in Sweden indicates another connection between music and intelligence, sort of.....
"Researchers at the medical university Karolinska Institutet and Umeå University have now demonstrated a correlation between general intelligence and the ability to tap out a simple regular rhythm. They stress that the task subjects performed had nothing to do with any musical rhythmic sense but simply measured the capacity for rhythmic accuracy. Those who scored highest on intelligence tests also had least variation in the regular rhythm they tapped out in the experiment."

Here is another quote about the study that seems to go against some of what we have been told about the relation between brain structure and intelligence,
"They also demonstrated a correlation between high intelligence, a good ability to keep time, and a high volume of white matter in the parts of the brain's frontal lobes involved in problem solving, planning and managing time.

"All in all, this suggests that a factor of what we call intelligence has a biological basis in the number of nerve fibres in the prefrontal lobe and the stability of neuronal activity that this provides."

The study appears in 'Intelligence and variability in a simple timing task share neural substrates in the prefrontal white matter', Fredrik Ullén, Lea Forsman, Örjan Blom, Anke Karabanov and Guy Madison, The Journal of Neuroscience, 16 April 2008. But I got my information from an article at Science Daily.


Sue VanHattum said...

>"...a factor of what we call intelligence has a biological basis in the number of nerve fibres in the prefrontal lobe..."

If the body can create those fibers during one's life, then maybe becoming 'intelligent' creates the need for them, and then we can measure after the fact. To me, the implication of the sentence was that we start with a set intelligence (measurable by number of those fibers), and I doubt that's true.

Interesting correlation. (I've always thought I wasn't very good at music, but when I was drumming during a ritual, a woman who did some fancier drumming on top of the basic beat I had set told me afterward that I had done a great basic beat. Maybe she was just being nice, I wouldn't know...)

Pat's Blog said...

Thanks for the comment. I didn't see the original research, just an article about it, but I don't think they saw it as fixed. And if they do or don't, the research of Carol Dweck that I mentioned here indicated, "She also looks at people who think intelligence is fixed and compares them to people who think effort can change one’s intelligence. People with the second mindset are able to develop their potential much more effectively than those with a ‘fixed intelligence’ mindset."