Music : How It Affects Our Brain
Have you ever wondered how music can influence our emotions?
As we know, musical information is processed by multiple brain structures. Some are used to perceiving music, while others affect the emotional background. The latter are considered the crucial structures of musical emotions. They are involved in the induction, expression, experience and conditioning of musical emotions. The ability to experience musical emotions is related to neural circuits, which are specifically involved in the processing of music. Therefore, the study of emotion induces a common interest in the neuroscience and musicology spheres.
Musical emotions are connected with the activation of the limbic system.
Before: Have you ever wondered how music can influence our emotions? Why does music evoke a certain feeling and mood?
After: Science has been continuously studying the effects of music on brain function. Till date, a lot of studies have been conducted on how music affects the brain.
Bridge: Learn how to harness the power of music and how it can change our moods and alter our everyday lives.
The love of music has deep roots: people have been composing it and enjoying the melodies since the earliest times. More than 30 thousand years ago, our ancestors were already playing musical instruments made of stone and bone. The human fascination with music is innate. Babies are drawn to the sources of pleasant sounds. And, conversely, turn away from unpleasant ones. And the final chords of the musical composition activate the same brain centers that are responsible for pleasure.
Why Does Music Affect People So Much?
Exhaustive scientific answers neurobiologists have not yet found an exhaustive scientific answer to this question. However, they managed to get the data, which explains how the brain processes musical information. Comparing patients with craniocerebral injuries and healthy people by neuroimaging, scientists have come to unexpected conclusions. It turned out that the human brain does not have a single center specialized in music.
As we know, the inner ear has 3,500 hair cells and the eye has 100 million photoreceptors.
How the Brain Perceives Music ?
Long before modern neuroimaging techniques were developed, doctors had been studying the brain’s ability to perceive music. To do this, they monitored patients with impaired brain function after injuries or strokes. They played melodies by famous composers and recorded the results of the observation of the subjects’ reactions.
In 1933, the famous French composer Maurice Ravel was found to have symptoms of atrophy of certain parts of the brain. At the same time, the composer’s ability to think was not affected. He had not forgotten the notes of his past works and played scales perfectly. But he had lost his ability to compose music. Talking about his never-written opera Joan of Arc, Ravel admitted: “I can hear this opera in my head, but I’ll never write it down – that’s the end. Unfortunately, I can no longer write music.” It was after a detailed study of the history of his illness that scientists suggested that the brain lacks a single center for the processing of musical information.
The brain’s perception of music is multi-stage and relies heavily on its ability to find the relationship of sounds. The brain’s response is also conditioned by the listener’s experience and training and can change even after a short period of training. For example, up until 10 years ago, scientists believed that each cell in the auditory cortex was tuned only to a certain characteristic of sounds. But it turned out that the tuning of the cells can change over time. It turned out that some neurons are particularly sensitive to attention-grabbing sounds and store them in memory.
How the Musically Gifted Brain Reacts ?
The profession of music stimulates the reaction of nerve cells to an even greater extent. And, what’s more, it even causes changes in the physical characteristics of the brain. For example, the number of neurons, the total weight of gray matter.
Is music an Ode to Happiness or Sadness?
Researchers are studying not only how the brain processes sound, but also the emotional impact of music on people. Reactions to music (goosebumps, tears, laughter, etc.) occur in 80% of adults.
As we know, musical information is processed by multiple brain structures. Some are used to perceiving music, while others affect the emotional background.
Music is a powerful tool that can change the way you feel, and even how you think (even if you don’t realize it). Music can help you become more productive, increase your focus, and even help you fall asleep faster. It’s a great tool to add to your productivity arsenal, and it’s also something that’s fun and enjoyable to use.