Remember the last time you heard a piece of music that was so beautiful you just had to close your eyes and listen? Well, scientists at Wake Forest University have finally figured out why that happens. Researchers asked volunteers to pick out individual notes in musical pieces while they were being given an MRI brain scan. The result: As the audio tests got more complicated, blood flow to the visual centers of the brain decreased – and increased in the audio centers. In other words, the brain powered down their eyes and focused more on their ears.
What’s this mean to you? Dr. Talma Hendler is a neuroscientist at Tel Aviv University’s Functional Brain Center. She says that these findings could help develop a treatment for brain disorders like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Her research shows that even a temporary decrease in our visual abilities causes a boost in the area of the brain that processes memories and emotional reactions. It boosts cognitive function and may even help the rest of your brain perform at a higher level – even the parts that have been shut down or damaged by disease.