Does Music Actually Make You Smarter?

Dr. Assal Habibi from the University of Southern California joins us to discuss research showing that music can have a powerful effect on learning, specifically in the areas of reading, memory, and attention, and to explore how families can capitalize on this research to help their children excel.

Guests: Dr. Assal Habibi, Associate Research Professor of Psychology at the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California

Guest Bio: Dr. Habibi’s research takes a broad perspective on understanding the influence of arts and specifically music on health and development, focusing on how biological dispositions and learning experiences shape the brain and development of cognitive, emotional and social abilities during childhood and adolescence. She is an expert on the use of electrophysiologic and neuroimaging methods to investigate human brain function and has used longitudinal and cross-sectional designs to investigate how implementing music training programs within the school curricula impacts the learning and academic achievement of children from under-resourced communities. Her research program has been supported by federal agencies and private foundations including the NIH, NEA and the GRoW @ Annenberg Foundation and her findings have been published in peer reviewed journals including Cerebral Cortex, Music Perception, Neuroimage and PLoS ONE. Currently, she is the lead investigator of a multi-year study, in collaboration with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and their Youth Orchestra program (YOLA), investigating the effects of early childhood music education on the development of brain function and structure as well as learning skills, cognitive, emotional, and social abilities.  Dr. Habibi is a classically trained pianist and has many years of musical teaching experience with children, a longstanding personal passion.