Since ancient times, drums have been the centerpiece of some of humanity’s most important moments. The rhythm of drums spirited soldiers into battle and elevated souls into alternative realities during religious ceremonies. Neuroscience is now revealing what humanity has innately appreciated all along: rhythm moves us–all the way down to our brain waves.
Specifically, electroencephalographs (EEGs), which measure the electrical impulses in the brain, have revealed that drums stimulate the brain, causing its brainwaves to resonate in time with their rhythm such that slow beats encourage hypnotic states and fast beats encourage alertness and enhanced focus.
Studies abound. Harold Russell, a clinical psychologist at the University of Texas has shown that rhythmic stimuli are effective in treating ADD in young boys. By exposing the boys to light and sound stimulation, he was able to boost their performance on concentration and IQ tests significantly.
Thomas Budzynski, an affiliate professor of psychology at the University of Washington directed his study of rhythmic stimuli to the elderly population, and was able to show that victims of brain damage may also benefit from the increased blood flow catalyzed by rhythm. In his words, “when a novel stimulus is applied to the brain, the brain lights up and cerebral blood flow increases.” As one of his patients who’d suffered a stroke said, “the fog went away” with the application of rhythmic stimuli.
The Mojo team has long benefited from rhythmic music–so much so that we even integrated it into the very first version of our website where it remains as the Concentration Station–a collection of rhythmic cognitive stimuli for our users to groove out to when they need to focus.