According To Science, Drummers May Be The Smartest Members Of The Band

October 11, 2019

There is a common joke amongst drummers that goes "There are three kinds of drummers. Those that can count and those that can't." But then, there is also this one: "How can you tell if the stage is level? When the drummer is drooling out of both sides of their mouth." Ba-dum-tss.

Drummers often get stereotypes as mindless party animals that like to hit stuff, and the genius behind every band rests with the lead singer.

But according to research by the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, drummers' brains often posses the ability for quick problem-solving. Researchers had various drummers play a series of different beats, and then were tasked with solving an intelligence test consisting of 60 problems. According to the results, the drummers with the highest scores were also able to keep the most consistent rhythm.

But it doesn't stop there. A drummer that keeps a steady beat can bestow their intelligence onto others within earshot. Studies about rhythm in the human brain have revealed that a steady beat leads to improvements in congnition. A psychology professor from the University of Washington used rhythmic light and sound therapy on students and resulted in improved test scores. In a similar experiement, a researcher at the University of Texas Medical Branch used the same method on elementary and middle school boys with ADD. The results also showed an improvement in the boys' IQ scores.

Of course, the studies have centered on the effects of rhythm on the brain rather than the brains responsible for the rhythm. But the positive effects from drumming doesn't stop at their problem-solving abilities. Researchers from the University of Oxford have also shown that when a group of drummers gather together and create a "drummer's high", both their level of happiness and their pain tolerance increased. This lead researchers to believe that establishing connections through steady beats made room for a sense of community.

Because a human's sense of rhythm and time have played key roles behind all of this research, reactions to beats generated by a person have proven to be more effective in acquiring these results than on an electric drum machine. A machine's sense of time is linear and unchanging. But a human's internal clock senses time in waves as detected by the brain.

So there you have it. Drummers aren't the clueless dopes they've been portrayed as in the media. They are just more intuitive to our species' sense of rhythm and time than everyone else in the band.