Uplifting music 'boosts alertness'

Uplifting music can boost mental alertness according to University of Northumbria researchers who studied the effect of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons.

A group of volunteers listened to the concertos while performing a difficult mental task and scientists measured the electrical activity of their brains.

The findings, published in the journal Experimental Pyschology, showed that participants carried out the task faster and more accurately while listening to the uplifting strains of the Spring concerto - and slowed down during the more sombre Autumn passage.

"The current study provides evidence that there is an indirect effect of music on cognition that is created by mood, alertness and emotion.

"This experiment shows that cognitive capacity is enhanced when pleasant and arousing stimuli are introduced."

– Psychologist Dr Leigh Riby, from the University of Northumbria

The Spring movement has previously been used successfully in marketing to alter mood and influence behaviour.

"The Spring movement enhanced overall activity within the brain but had an exaggerated effect on the area of the brain that's important for emotional processing.

"It seemed to give rise to particular imagery in the brain and evoke positive, contented feelings which translated into higher levels of cognitive functioning."

– Psychologist Dr Leigh Riby, from the University of Northumbria