As the Finals issue features a great article on study-friendly instrumental tracks, we got inspired to explore the relationship of music and focus a bit further. It’s no surprise that while studying, many students prefer white noise or music to the jarring sound of chairs scraping throughout Moffit. But are there particular types of music that are more conducive to learning or focus? Some research suggests there are.

Studies in music and cognition receiving most media attention are those focused on what many dub the Mozart effect. The term usually refers to several similar theories, all centered on the idea that classical music may aid in temporary or long-term learning enhancement. In one experiment, students exposed to classical music showed increased — but temporary — spatial-temporal reasoning ability.

Similarly, gamma waves can describe a specific pattern of neural oscillations — brain waves — at a frequency of around 50 Hz. Researchers such as György Buzsaki have published evidence suggesting that the nature of the frequency of these waves may aid conscious attention through facilitating activity within the thalamus, a brain structure partially involved in alertness and consciousness. While the theory remains in need of further support, we still suggest trying out gamma-wave music therapy for yourself!

Our favorite tracks
We love Youtube tracks (1) Biaural Beats: Study, Focus, Concentrate and (2) High focus – Gamma brainwaves in particular, because they’re repetitive enough to discourage distraction. For those who might prefer classical music, we suggest the (3) Study Music Project, also on Youtube. Happy finals prep week!

-R.S.

Image source: Karmalize under Creative Commons.


1611765413_d01b66af58_bSummer is almost upon us! It’s time to creep out of our study holes like the survivors of a zombie apocalypse and get a taste of that much needed summer sun. After your tired eyes and pinkish-white skin have gotten used to the shock, we invite you to come lay out on Memorial Glade with us. During this week of RRR, use the Berkeley Beach to your advantage. Here are a few useful tips for your day at this surprisingly grassy seaside.

1. Bring a Blanket: With nothing in between the wet grass and your pasty thighs, your stay at the beach will not be as enjoyable. The grass is often wet and after a while will leave red, itchy imprints on your skin. We assume this is not what you want. So bring a blanket, towel, or old sheet, and lay on it just as you would on the sand.

2. Gain Higher Ground: In our opinion, the best spots on the glade are those that are slightly elevated. Go towards the edges, where the ground is slightly higher, and you will find that your experience will be much improved. First off, the view is better, as you can see all the activity going on around you. Also, you are farther away from the Frisbees, dogs and other nonsense that goes on at the center of the glade. Plus, you get to feel like the king (or queen) of Memorial, looking down on your subjects. read more »