Ah yes, the wonderful and highly complexed organ called the brain. It works in ways we can’t comprehend and we’re learning new facts about its power all the time. Over the years numerous studies have been conducted to see how regular things can affect this amazing organ and even alter it completely. Check out these pretty cool facts about how music effects, and changes, how we react and feel when we’re listing to it.
- Why do you get the chills you get when you listen to music?
Well, this is down to dopamine. This is a feel-good chemical that gets released by the brain and is directly involved in motivation, as well as addiction. Studies conducted found that dopamine is the biological explanation for why music plays such a huge part in our emotions and lives.
- music is one of the few activities in life that utilizes the entire brain.
With the help of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI), a group of individuals who were listening to music was studied by a research team. Their studies told them that while the group was listening to music the brain recruits the auditory areas, and uses large-scale neural networks. In short, the team believes that music can activate the emotional, motor, and creative areas of the brain.
- You can alter your brain structure by playing music regularly.
The term ‘brain plasticity’ refers to the brain’s amazing ability to change throughout its lifespan. We now know that changes associated with learning occur mostly at the connections between neurons. This is where it getting interesting. When musicians were studied, it was found that the cortex volume was highest in professional musicians, intermediate in amateur musicians, and lowest in non-musicians. Pretty cool huh?
- The brain responds to music the same way it responds to food.
As stated in the beginning, dopamine is a wonderful chemical that is released by the brain. This chemical gives us the feeling of euphoria which is associated with addiction, sex, and yes, eating food. Dopamine is what allows us mere mortals to feel the pleasures of such things. In a study that used only instrumental music, proved that anticipation for a musical rush gave you the same sensation in the brain as anticipating the taste of your food.
- Music can significantly improve your work-out.
The term dissociation is a diversionary brain technique that allows us to lower the perceptions of effort. We use this technique to divert the mind from feelings of fatigue, as well as heighten positive mood states like vigor. When music is used during a low to moderate workout, your brain and body tend to have a more pleasurable experience while working out.
- Emotional attachment is the reason for your favorite songs.
Our choice of favorite songs is often based on context. We’re bombarded with songs daily people often change their favorite song depending on the most recent releases. But, it is proven that our long-lasting favorite song preferences are mainly due to an emotional attachment to a memory associated with the song.
- Our heartbeat changes to mimics the music we listen to.
Proving the power of music, it has been found to modulate heart rate, blood pressure, as well as respiration. In a study of 24 volunteers, it was found that our bodies cardiovascular system will mirror decrescendos and swelling crescendos. Distinguishing changes in sound patterns were even found in developing babies, this why music and singing has a soothing effect on the unborn baby
- Listening to happy vs. sad music can affect the world around you.
Music really does affect your mood — listening to particularly happy or sad music even change the way our mind and body perceives the world. Your mood and the music you listen to are closely interrelated, as in, listening to a happy or sad song can absolutely make you feel more sad or happy. These changes in the choice of music you listen to not only affect the way you feel, but they can also change your perception. For example, people will recognize happy faces if they are feeling happy themselves.
- “Earworms” are songs that you can’t get out of your head.
The term ‘earworm’ is for the cognitive itch in your brain. Yup, this “brain itch” is the need for our brains to magically fill in the gaps in a song’s rhythm. The incredibly complex auditory cortex is the part of the brain that automatically fills in the rhythm of a song. In other words, your brain keeps humming and singing the same song long after the track has ended.
- Learning a musical instrument can improve fine motor and reasoning skills.
During a study of children, it was revealed that if children are exposed to three or more years of musical training, these same kids performed better when it came to fine motor skills and auditory discrimination abilities then those who had none. The study even found that the children even tested better for vocabulary and reasoning skills.