Music and language stimulate similar brain activity, pioneering research has found.
Sheffield University chair of cognitive science Lawrence Parsons and his colleagues measured cerebral blood flow as 10 amateur musicians sang. They were using brain imaging to examine the neural basis of the improvisation of music and language.
Their findings, presented recently at Edinburgh's Heriot-Watt University during the annual conference of the British Educational Research Association, suggest that "music and language processes are supported by shared, parallel and distinctive brain systems".
They build on previous research which showed that music and language appeared to share "a number of computational and processing features, such as rules for generating complex sound structures from smaller auditory and vocal units".