How can music, coffee impact your cognitive abilities?

A new study highlights exactly how music and coffee can enhance your cognitive performance.

 Music, coffee, and perfume: What do all these things have in common? (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Music, coffee, and perfume: What do all these things have in common?
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

A study carried out by researchers from New York University's Tandon School of Engineering has unveiled the remarkable effects of music and coffee on cognitive performance.

As reported in Nature Scientific Reports, the investigation monitored brain activity during cognitive assessments, utilizing cutting-edge brain filtering and monitoring technology developed by MINDWATCH. Participants were exposed to various stimuli, including music, coffee consumption, and perfume inhalation.

The findings demonstrated a notable increase in brain wave activity (beta band) associated with heightened cognitive performance during music listening and coffee consumption. Surprisingly, even AI-generated music exhibited a significant performance enhancement, paving the way for further exploration in tasks demanding focus and memory retention.

 Cup of coffee (credit: INGIMAGE)
Cup of coffee (credit: INGIMAGE)

Pioneering MINDWATCH technology

Over the past six years, Professor Rose Peccia from New York University's School of Biomedical Engineering has been refining the MINDWATCH brain monitoring technology. This innovative algorithm interprets an individual's brain activity using data collected from wearable devices that monitor electrodermal activity (EDA), indicating changes in electrical conductivity due to stress-induced sweat reactions.

Stimulating brain function and memory regulation

Study participants donned EDA monitoring bracelets and brain monitoring strips to undertake cognitive tests while exposed to music, coffee, and preferred perfumes. The same tests were conducted without the influence of these stimuli.

The MINDWATCH algorithm unveiled significant alterations in participants' brain arousal caused by music and coffee. These changes induced a distinct physiological "mindset," potentially enhancing performance in memory-intensive tasks.

The researchers pinpointed specific stimuli that triggered heightened brain wave activity (beta range), correlating with improved cognitive performance. While perfumes had a minimal impact, the researchers suggested further exploration in this realm.

Countering the pandemic's negative impact

Dr. Peccia explained the benefits of MINDWATCH, saying that the global pandemic has profoundly affected mental health worldwide which in turn has underscored the urgency of tracking daily stressors' detrimental effects on cognitive abilities.

Although the MINDWATCH technology remains in development, its overarching objective is to empower individuals to monitor real-time cognitive arousal, enabling the identification of stress or cognitive disengagement moments.

Enhanced Work and Academic Achievements

Peccia emphasized the revolutionary nature of this technology, envisaging a future where individuals can accomplish tasks while enjoying music, fostering a positive mental state conducive to enhanced work and academic accomplishments.