June 25, 2002
4:59 PM   Subscribe

Musicians are really smart. They have larger and more sensitive brains than non-musicians, and their collective IQ is much higher. They have 130% more grey matter in one area of their auditory cortexes. The question of how this explains Ozzy Osbourne nonwithstanding, I'll bet if you're really, really smart, you could be one of the new members of Men Without Hats. Must be very knowledgeable in midi, sequences, and sampling.
posted by iconomy (18 comments total)

 
Must not have any hats.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:23 PM on June 25, 2002


Wow. After Ivan's solo album, I thought they were gone forever...
posted by nomisxid at 5:25 PM on June 25, 2002


Musician's are not really smarter (based on the research reported here). Despite the oblique mention of Mozart and Beethoven's posthumous IQ testing (gack - stupid science) and one reported high IQ, that wasn't part of the research at all. Nor do they have larger more sensitive brains despite what the journo is reporting. A part of their brain is larger. There are no research regarding the overall size of the brain reported. The peter cortex may have been robbed to pay the paul cortex.

This is terrible science journalism and probably makes the authors of the research cringe. As usual the BBC does a better job on the story
posted by srboisvert at 5:46 PM on June 25, 2002


so the brains the same size, and its really just being used more efficently? :)
posted by howa2396 at 5:55 PM on June 25, 2002


so the brains the same size, and its really just being used more efficently? :)

No, it is just being used more musically. I have always found the pro-judice of the artistic to be a little obnoxious. Essentially what this study shows is that musicians are better at music because they have larger brain areas related to music. It says nothing about any other skills or any other regions of the brain. Nor was their any actual intelligence testing.

If musical skill is all you consider important then by all means view musicians as smarter because of their abilities and their correspondingly swollen brain areas. Personally, I prefer a broader definition of intelligence and I suspect a properly controlled comparison would reveal that the musically gifted are no different in IQ from people who are gifted in other areas such as art, logic or math and who likely have bulk in the brain areas corresponding to their skills.
posted by srboisvert at 6:18 PM on June 25, 2002


Check out the message board on the MW/OH link! Who knew that "Pop Goes The World" was the perfect song to bodybuild to?
posted by herc at 6:23 PM on June 25, 2002


Q: What do you call a guitar player who has no girlfriend?

A: Homeless
posted by Optamystic at 6:43 PM on June 25, 2002


Does being good with a kazoo make you a musician? Cause if so, I'm smarter, more sensitive, and have a collectively higher IQ.

As we smarty pants musicians say: Neener neener.
posted by Salmonberry at 10:06 PM on June 25, 2002


Does the Autoharp count?
posted by electro at 10:41 PM on June 25, 2002


Oh! And this, too.
posted by electro at 10:42 PM on June 25, 2002


Must be very knowledgeable in midi, sequences, and sampling.

ooh, that is so fuckin' musical... You have to practice, practice, practice to get to be a first midi-olinist.
posted by y2karl at 11:25 PM on June 25, 2002


i've got one:

Q: How do you get a guitarist to stop playing?

A: Put a piece of sheet music in front of him.
posted by boltman at 11:27 PM on June 25, 2002


And in further news, scientists have discovered that scientists are cleverer and more scientific than non-scientists....
posted by iain at 5:31 AM on June 26, 2002


Writers and crossword puzzle editors are strangely smarter on Sundays, or, at least, they delude themselves into thinking they are courtesy of the sudden thickness of the newspapers that their contributions appear in.
posted by ed at 6:02 AM on June 26, 2002


> Q: How do you get a guitarist to stop playing?
>
> A: Put a piece of sheet music in front of him.

One argument for technically accomplished musicians being smarter is that that kind of music is hard. You've got to be a left-brain-plus-right-brain type who's creative enough to dream up interesting sequences of sounds and also nerdy enough to deal with harmony, counterpoint, and plain old standard notation (not to mention, these days, midi sysex message coding.)

The only other creative type which has to meet the same level of demands is an architect, who has to be artist enough to put together pleasing and useable spaces and engineer enough so that the building doesn't fall down. (At least one of Frank Lloyd Wright's did just that.)


> Q: What do you call a guitar player who has no girlfriend?
>
> A: Homeless


Q: how many bass players does it take to change a light bulb?

A: 1. 5. 1. 5. 1. 5.
posted by jfuller at 6:27 AM on June 26, 2002


I'd totally join, but I'd have to leave my friends behind. You see, my friends won't dance. It seems that if they won't dance, then they're no friends of Ivan's.
posted by hackly_fracture at 8:35 AM on June 26, 2002


Well, these articles don't really address Mariah Carey then, do they?

---

Q. How do you know for sure that the stage is level?

A. Drool is coming out of BOTH sides of the drummer's mouth.
posted by 4midori at 8:43 AM on June 26, 2002


Yeah but hackly, you can go when you want to - the night is young and so are you. And you can dress real neat from your hat to your feet and surprise 'em with the victory cry.

{must...get...song....out...OUT...of...head....}
posted by Salmonberry at 9:53 PM on June 26, 2002


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