Bieber for the brain (or not)

Bieber for the brain (or not) 1

Bieber for the brain (or not)

Tegan Taylor is one part of the hosting team of Coronacast, a podcast on the ABC to keep us up to date with how Australia is faring in a global pandemic, the one we are living through right now. She is also a health and science journalist and is the host of another show called Ockham’s Razor for Radio National (ABC) that is all things science and tech, including research and policy.

Ockham’s Razor caught my attention for 2 reasons: 1) because I have limited stores of focus during lockdown #6 (yep, Melbourne based). Apparently I am not the only one, the pandemic is messing with our attention span. According to ANU computer scientist, Jessica Sharmin Rahman, internet searches of the pandemic age are commonly in this vein – “how to fix my attention span” and; 2) Tegan Taylor’s voice is comforting, soothing and familiar, like a big sister that I can’t visit. I have listened to her and Norman Swann almost daily on Coronacast.

In the story of “How music affects your brain and body” Jessica discovered a song that unexpectedly helped her to relax, it was Justin Bieber and she’s not normally a fan and she was a little embarrassed. She never would have chosen this pop-centric tune for herself but it actually gave her all the feels. She was drawn to research the reason why this song was a feel-good stimulus for her. She wondered, there must be other people that pigeon-hole their music tastes and dispel certain genres or sounds without recognising that positive physiological changes can happen in the body from varying musical pieces that we don’t even know yet.

The physiological changes we are seeking can be measured through a sports watch and a headset. Jessica has built her own AI system that can decipher certain emotional and physiological responses to certain sound waves and use the patterns to form a preferred sensory experience. Just because Spotify tells you it’s ‘study music’ doesn’t mean it actually benefits your concentration.

I have found this RY X live to be my best knuckle down without distraction album, it borders closely with classical music and it is unfamiliar to me. Music is power, using it to wield mood and focus can dramatically improve our productivity and positivity. Go find your sound.

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