Reggaeton Generates Greater Brain Activity Than Classical Music

A group of neurosurgeons conducted a study that demonstrated intense brain activation when participants listened to reggaeton. In fact, it even surpassed classical music in this respect.
Reggaeton Generates Greater Brain Activity Than Classical Music

Last update: 27 December, 2021

A recent study suggests that listening to reggaeton generates greater brain activity than classical music does. However, it’s traditionally been thought that classical music is the main sound source of brain stimulation for the human being from birth. As a matter of fact, even when the baby is still in the womb.

Various arguments have been put forward in dispute of the idea that classical music is the best for unborn babies in terms of rhythm, style, and culture. However, out of the blue, a study emerged that actually confirmed that urban cadence is much more stimulating than previously believed. Furthermore, it causes brain activity that surpasses other kinds of melodies.

It seems crazy that the creations of Mozart and Bach could be displaced with reggaeton. Nevertheless, this is what a thesis produced by a group of scientists in the Canary Islands, suggests.

Colorful music notes.

Increased brain activity

Neurosurgeon, Jesús Martín-Fernández, with his colleagues and specialists conducted research to check how the brain responded to different musical styles. This was mentioned during an interview that was broadcast by RTVE’s radio program, Longitud de Onda.

Folklore, electronics, classical, and reggaeton were the key genres that Martín-Fernández and his researchers chose to evaluate. They studied the brain reactions of a group of 28 people. They had an average age of 27 years and had no musical training. Furthermore, the Spanish neurologists selected compositions without linguistic content. This meant that only the sounds of the instruments interfered in the process.

After being subjected to this test, many areas of the brain were activated. However, for this study, the researchers only focussed on reactions related to movement. For Martín-Fernández, their findings explained the reason for the phenomenon of massive commercialization that reggaeton has had in the 21st century.

“It produces a very intense activation in the ganglia of the base and the internal capsule, which is where the pyramidal pathway passes, which is the pathway of conscious movement.”

-Jesús Martín-Fernández-

The doctoral thesis that this resident neurosurgeon of the University Hospital, Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria of Tenerife conducted demonstrated that, despite the fact that each person studied remained still when they were listening to the music, when listening to reggaeton their brain was activated as if they were moving.

Reasons for increased brain activity when listening to reggaeton

Although the research work is only in its early stages and many aspects remain to be evaluated, the team of neurologists suggested a number of reasons for their findings. However, it should be noted that this is only the first study to show how the brain is activated by reggaeton.

These are the hypotheses that would give a reason to the cerebral reactions when listening to reggaeton :

  • “By having a rhythmic cell so identifying and so persistent, the brain automatically activates as if you were going to move. It seems like a pretty primitive thing”.
  • “The constant stimulus triggers the need for oxygen flow in those areas because the brain prepares as if it were going to move, or because the brain tries to anticipate the next rhythmic hit”.
    music mind

Reggaeton: the greatest stimulant

Apparently, the discussion between different people, generations, and musicologists is just beginning. Furthermore, with the emergence of this study, the only thing that remains clear so far is that reggaeton makes us more active compared to other rhythms.

Even electronic music is capable of activating some motor regions in our brains. However, it would appear, at least for the moment, that nothing surpasses the responses that are obtained in the face of this characteristic mixture of Caribbean sounds and reggae.

Listening to this musical style clearly has many benefits. Nevertheless, it’s worth remembering that getting moving and being carried away by any genre also has benefits for our body, mental, and emotional health.

In conclusion, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that reggaeton encourages dancing. It seems that the main reason why this rhythm invades the whole body and gets into our heads is because of its repetition and the predictability in its composition. It certainly seems that, compared to classical music, the genre of reggaeton and its effects on the brain is well worth further research.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.