Music affects your mood. Sometimes I will listen to some music and feel a certain way. This got me curious, so I did some research about what music the smartest people listen to. So, I thought I’d write this helpful article to explain what kind of music do the most intelligent people listen to.
So, what kind of music do the most intelligent people listen to? Intelligent people listen to a range of music from classical to electronic music. There have also been studies linking specific music to improved cognitive performance. Improved cognitive performance leads to learning faster, and being more creative. These are signs of intelligence.
Now, the most intelligent people in the past and present listen to certain types of music. But they differ in their preferences, so below I’ll list the types of music that the most intelligent people listen to, as well as the details of the studies that were done into the effect of music on intelligence, and the best type of music to listen to, to improve intelligence.
What music do the smartest people listen to?
There was a category in the Guinness Book of Records for the smartest person in the world. It is no longer included because Guinness retired the “Highest IQ” category in 1990 after concluding IQ tests were too unreliable to designate a single record holder. Regardless, a lady held the record for 3 years. Her name was Marilyn vos Savant.
Marilyn is quoted as having said “Teens think listening to music helps them concentrate. It doesn’t. It relieves them of the boredom that concentration on homework induces.” In a way, it could be interpreted to mean that teens will study more because it is not as boring if they listen to music. Which in turn increases their intelligence.
Further developments in human understanding have to lead to many types of intelligence, such as motor skill intelligence, and emotional intelligence. So, this information should be taken with a grain of salt.
The favorite music of some famous intelligent people
- Elon Musk. He likes a range of music. His favorite artists according to anecdotal comments he has made to people and on social media are Frank Sinatra, Weird ‘Al’ Yankovic, as well as one-off songs such as from movies like Monty Python, and The Lego Movie. He is also fond of electronic dance music (EDM). He makes his own EDM. One track he released under his record label Emo G was called “Don’t Doubt Ur Vibe.”
- Stephen Hawking. He had a preference for classical music including composers such as Brahms, Beethoven, and Mozart.
- Albert Einstein. He liked Classical composers especially Mozart, and Bach according to a historian named Brian Foster. He, however, did not like other composers such as Wagner or Debussy.
So, we can see that some of the smartest people had a preference for classical music. But, a quick look at well known smart people shows that there is a range of music genres that they like. It is also the case that most people like classical music, or at least don’t mind it. So, if they were asked about their musical tastes they would probably include some classical music on their list regardless of whether they were intelligent or not.
Does the music you listen to reflect your intelligence?
Some people have said that the kind of music a person listens to influences their intelligence. However, there could be other environmental factors that influence this result. This is because the music one listens to could indicate other lifestyle habits, such as drinking or doing recreational drugs.
Excessive drinking to the point of being drunk has been shown to decrease cognitive performance. It also leads to poor decision making. This is because it dehydrates the body, and causes the brain’s neurons to fire slower. Being hungover also causes a person to become irritable and lack focus. So, the type of music a person listens to is likely related but not the cause.
Is there any music specifically created to improve focus and concentration?
There is music created by Brain.fm for a range of purposes such as sleep, focus, and relaxation. They have tested it for phase-locking relative to other music such as white noise, and Spotify. Higher scores are better. Their music performs significantly better, it is also pleasant and enjoyable to listen to. Get a few free sessions by clicking here, and try out how it works for you. I really recommend it and use it often.
What studies have been done on the effect of music on a person’s ability to learn?
A study performed on students to see if music would affect people’s ability to perform various tasks such as solving logic problems and reading comprehension. The study categorized people as introverts or extroverts. Introverted people prefer to work alone, and get energy by spending time alone. Extroverted people prefer to interact with others and gain energy by talking with others.
This is a loose categorization and people can learn to be one or the other. Regardless, the study conducted showed that people with extroverted personalities performed better with the addition of music relative to no music. Introverted people, on the other hand, performed worse with the addition of music.
Now, another study was done on the effect of Baroque music on cognitive function. (Cognitive function is the ability of the brain to work out answers to questions or problems.) Mozart’s music was specifically looked at in performing a specific task. Care was taken not to generalize to other tasks. The task chosen was a Spatio-temporal task. Similar to a board game or online game. Where objects move in a space over time. Producing problems that need solutions. It was found that Mozart’s music increased performance. The full details of the study can be found here. Therefore music according to the studies done improved performance in logic or mathematics problems in extroverts, but hindered the performance of introverts. On the other hand, Mozart’s music increased people’s ability to perform Spatio-temporal tasks.
How does music affect different parts of the brain?
According to Petr Janata at the University of California, Davis, the brain categorizes different sounds. Such as people speaking, sounds in the environment, or musical sounds. Different parts of the brain will become active depending on what sort of sounds they are listening to. Also, through studies, they conducted that the brain can determine whether the pitch of music is going up or down.
They have further identified that different areas of the brain light up for different situations such as:
- A nostalgic song. This is a song from childhood or from a special time in a person’s life.
- A song that you recognize and start singing along with. This could be in your mind or out loud.
- A song that makes you want to dance.
The parts of the brain which are in charge of emotional processing and social interactions are in the same area as those when remembering a song. Either, nostalgic, or just the latest catchy song.
In conclusion, the smartest people in history and currently in the world today listen to a range of music. There is a link between the type of music people listen to and how intelligent they are. However, this could be correlated and does not necessarily cause it.
- Wikipedia: Marilyn Vos Savant
- American Psychological Association: The distracting effects of vocal and instrumental music on the cognitive test performance of introverts and extraverts.
- Youtube: Petr Janata of the University of California, Davis on parts of the brain that are affected by music
- Cmuse.org: Six Interesting Musical Facts About Albert Einstein
- Pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov: The Influence of Mozart’s Music on Brain Activity in the Process of Learning