Music And The Brain: Effects Of Music On The Visual Cortex Of The Brain

What are the effects of music on the visual cortex of the brain

In this article, we will again explore music and the brain. The specific emphasis is on the importance of music in the development of the visual cortex and visual-spatial learning. The visual cortex which is located at the back of the brain is responsible for visual perception. One of its functions is visual-spatial learning, or the ability to see words and numbers in pictures. This is a highly valuable skill that is necessary for problem-solving. Music And The Brain: Effects Of Music On The Visual Cortex Of The Brain

The visual cortex is the area of the brain that processes visual information (Wikipedia, 2021). To simplify matters, the main function of the visual cortex is to interpret and process visual information received from the eyes.

The importance of the visual cortex is signified by its size. It is five times larger than the auditory cortex. Humans learn more, quicker, and easier by seeing than by hearing. The visual cortex of the brain is extremely important for learning by a process called visual perception.

The importance of the visual cortex is signified by its size. It is five times larger than the auditory cortex. Humans learn more, quicker, and easier by seeing than by hearing. The visual cortex of the brain is extremely important for learning by a process called visual perception.

The meaning of visual perception

Visual perception is the ability to see and understand the surroundings through the light that enters the eyes. It involves the awareness of colors, patterns, and structures (InteractionDesign,org, 2021).

Good visual perceptual skills are important in childhood and throughout life. Visual perception is necessary for routine tasks like

completing puzzles
completing math problems
finding socks on the bedroom floor
and many other skills

Visual perception is also important in the development of self-esteem, and school performance (, 2021).

What are seven types of visual perceptual skills

Seven visual perceptual skills include visual-spatial relations, sequential memory, visual discrimination, form consistency, visual memory, visual closure, and visual figure-ground.

Visual-spatial learning

Visual-spatial learning is referred to as visual thinking and picture thinking. It is the ability to see words as a series of pictures (Wikipedia, 2021).

It is also the ability to differentiate between two forms when one part of a form is turned in a different direction from the other. For example, the letters b and d are two forms in which a part is turned in different directions. The visual-spatial ability helps a child to recognize the difference between the two letters.

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Other examples of visual-spatial ability relate to the difficulty in recognizing the difference between in and out, over and under, and left and right.

Sequential memory

This is the ability to remember a series of forms and finding a form among other forms. For example, a child would have problems with sequential memory if he or she cannot sequence the alphabet, cannot copy from one place to another, skips words when copying sentences from the board, or is unable to perceive words as an entire unit.

Visual discrimination

A child with good visual discrimination will be able to tell the similarities and differences between objects. Skills include the ability to identify money and sort coins or other objects. Good visual discrimination also means that the child can tell the difference between letters like n and m, b and d, and p and q.

Form constancy

This involves being able to find a form among other forms even though it is sized differently or rotated. Examples include being able to recognize letters and numbers. The ability to know that 6 and 9 are two different numbers is form constancy.

Visual memory

The ability to store visual details in short-term memory is visual memory. One example includes recalling a phone number. Another is the ability to remember details about a photograph after it is shown. Reading comprehension is related to visual memory and will be affected when visual memory is deficient. It seems therefore that memory training games will help with visual memory.

Visual closure

Visual closure skills help individuals to place missing details that are missing from an incomplete shape. Examples include solving puzzles; being able to put a picture together in your mind and to piece it together correctly.

Visual figure ground

The ability to perceive a form and find it even when it is hidden in a conglomerated ground of matter is visual figure-ground. For example, visual figure-ground exists when a child is able to find a blue crayon in their pencil box. This means that the child is able to filter out all of the other crayons in order to find the blue one.

Music And The Brain: Effects Of Music On The Visual Cortex Of The Brain

Problems associated with poor visual perception in childhood

Let’s explore examples of visual perception. A child who experiences problems with visual perception will have difficulty learning how to read. A child with good visual perception will be able to follow directions given by a teacher. For example, a child should be able to see the route to the Principal’s office. This is because visual perception also involves a sense and feel of direction.

Another example of visual perception is the child’s ability to look at a classroom board, see what is on the board and copy the information.

How music helped Albert Einstein to develop the spatial areas of his brain and to hone his genius

Visual-spatial learning is extremely important and also helps children to form pictures in their minds. The ability to form pictures helps with reading comprehension. Math comprehension is another important aspect of visual spatial learning. The child has to be able to see the math problem in his or her mind in order to solve it.

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Spatial learning is so important that the brain adapts its size to suit. For example, an autopsy of Albert Einstein’s brain showed that the areas related to spatial learning were 25% larger than the normal brain.

Albert Einstein was a spatial genius because he saw pictures. His famous equation, E = mc2, was a product of his mind before he ever put it on paper and before it was ever proven.

Einstein’s ability to think spatially was related to his music skills. He was also a musician and played the violin. Biographies written by his son and others reveal that he would play his violin whenever he had difficulty with problem-solving.

Whenever Einstein needed to solve a problem, he would play his violin until he was able to solve the problem. It is said that Einstein reported that music helped him to see the problems that he was working on.

Music And The Brain: Effects Of Music On The Visual Cortex Of The Brain

Research showed that music had a positive effect on the brains of adult British patients recovering from strokes

A 2009 British research study showed that stroke patients who listened to music during recovery experienced an improved vision. Sixty percent of British stroke patients experienced visual impairment which led to a loss of interaction with the environment.

Stroke patients tend to experience a situation called visual neglect. Visual neglect occurs when sight deficits occur in the area of vision opposite to the damaged brain area. Therefore, if the stroke occurs on the right side of the brain, these patients tend to lose awareness of visual information in the left side of space. This visual neglect occurs even though the area of the brain associated with sight is not damaged (Science Daily, 2021).

Although the study included only three patients, it produced some interesting results. The aim of the study was to determine if visual awareness would improve when patients listened to music. The researchers theorized that music would improve visual awareness in the study participants influencing their emotional state.

The team used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans to determine how the brain functioned as the participants listened to pleasant music and performed different visual tasks. The scans showed that the brain responded by becoming active in areas linked to positive emotional responses to stimuli. This brain activity was coupled with the improvement of the patients’ awareness of the visual world. We can safely conclude that music has a positive effect on vision.


Imperial College London. (2009, March 25). Listening To Pleasant Music Could Help Restore Vision In Stroke Patients, Suggests Study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 10, 2021 from

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