Music enhances cognitive-related behaviour in snails (Achatina fulica)
Music is a collection of sound waves which exist at varying frequencies, some of which may appear melodious while some appear unbearable to our ears and then there are frequencies which our ears cannot perceive e.g. Ultrasound. Most living forms bear the sense of hearing; the ability to perceive sound within specific ranges of frequencies, but organisms without non-auditory features perceive these frequencies in the form of vibrations or via the phenomenon of resonance. In humans, music therapy is a proven relaxation technique that helps manage stress and acts as a form of secondary treatment for several neural based disorders. The basis of this study was to understand whether music or rather sound vibrations, can enhance brain related activities mainly cognitive behaviour in snails, as these invertebrates do not possess auditory features, thus hypothesizing the interaction to be at a cellular level. Cognition is an important attribute of every living organism which although varies considerably from species to species, helps facilitate their day to day activities. Cognitive abilities of snails in this study were monitored, as time taken to complete the T-maze run post exposure to two different soundtracks for 15 minutes for a period of 5 days. A highly significant reduction in run time was observed in snails exposed to music signifying enhanced cognitive effects in comparison to control group. The significance was higher in the snails exposed to meditative music with lesser variation in frequencies, as compared to a rock soundtrack with varying frequencies. A linear and gradual short-term memory learning profile was observed in snails exposed to meditative music with lesser variation in frequencies as compared to snails exposed to rock music which showed a large variation in frequencies. The results of the studies confirmed that sound generated vibrations augments cognitive capacity of the brain and at reduced variation in frequencies can enhance learning ability with an increase in short-term memory gain. Resonating vibrations in the form of waves can definitely bring a change in behaviour of organisms without non-auditory features as observed in this study, which may induce biochemical changes at a cellular level, the mechanism for which needs to be evaluated.