patriots

You are if you’re listening to Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’

It works for Gronk.  It’s on his playlist.  Snoop Dog’s ‘Young, Wild and Free’ is as well, and there we have a complete synopsis of the Patriot’s happy go lucky tight end.

Conversely, Tom Brady listens to ‘Work Out’, ‘Work Hard, Play Hard’ and ‘I Can’…is anyone really surprised?

And while numerous studies have shown that music can truly affect our mood, work efficiency and concentration, some studies have shown that it can directly affect our abilities as well.  Our ability to focus on events and our ability even to anticipate events can be improved through listening to music.

Because music engages the area of the brain that’s involved in paying attention and updating our memory, overall functioning improves.  But here’s the catch: it’s not the music, the genre or the particular songs, it’s actually the space in between the songs, you know, the silence, that actually sharpens the brain’s machinations.

Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine, using Functional MRIs, identified that split second between musical movements or songs as areas of peak brain activity.

A team of Montreal researchers took this hypothesis a step further, monitoring subjects listening to their own playlists.  They observed similar results with regard to brain activity and labeled the ‘silence’ the Anticipatory Phase.

So it appears that, even when we know what’s coming next, we’re still excited and our brains are working overtime, using that brief moment to make sense of all the stimuli and partitioning it into recallable events, or segments, kind of the Dewey Decimal system of the brain.  And, apparently, it’s this ‘segmentation’ process that helps us to handle other sorts of stimuli and function better in life.  One researcher likened the phenomenon to the ‘cocktail party problem’.  (Who knew there was one?)  Apparently that likens the brain’s activity to the ability to follow a conversation in a crowded room full of many conversations, segmenting all stimuli, even with a vodka tonic.

But let’s get back to football…Peyton Manning’s playlist includes ‘Achy, Breaky Heart and ‘Born to Run’…not sure Peyton’s focusing on or anticipating good things.

And Russell Wilson gets his game face on with his music of choice, Gospel. And I’m sure there’s a pause after his Amen.

So while the tunes may vary, there’ll always be a moment of silence.  And, after that, let the games begin.