New Study Proves Drummers Are Smarter Than the Average Person

Linda-Philomène Tsoungui (photo by Emilio Herce)

Not only are drummers equipped with the valuable skills of rhythm, they’re also more intelligent than they’re usually given credit for.

As reports, a study led by professor Frederic Ullen from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm revealed that drummers who can easily keep rhythm are linked to having higher problem solving skills. Ullen then linked up with Umea University’s Guy Madison to test his theory by having 34 men between the ages of 19 and 49 tap a drumstick at different intervals. They were then given a 60 question intelligence test.

The researchers found that the participants who performed better on the timing task had larger volumes of white matter in their brains — white matter contains connections between different brain regions, which suggests that playing a musical instrument like the drums could have positive effects on the brain. Advertisement

But that’s not the only advantage of being a drummer. Another study, led by psychologist Robin Dunbar from the University of Oxford, found that drummers typically have higher pain thresholds than non-drummers. The study involved 12 drummers who played together regularly and nine employees of a musical instrument store who were exposed to music during their shifts.

After 30 minutes of drumming or working with music playing in the background, the employees noted feeling pain, while the drummers did not. The researchers concluded that it was the active performance of music, rather than just listening to it, that generated the endorphin high responsible for the increased pain tolerance. After all, those who’ve felt the adrenaline rush of performing will know that even the occasional blister can’t prevent a drummer from leaving it all out onstage.

Essentially, spending all that time behind the kit can help foster new neural connections in the brain and (briefly) distract your body from any ailments. So, if you needed an excuse to spend a few more minutes drumming today, then good news: drumming is going to make you a little bit smarter. Advertisement