Effects of Music on the Brain
Expecting moms listen to classical music as many believe that doing so helps the baby’s brain development, especially in terms of intelligence quotient. When an individual feels sad or lonely, they turn to music to cope. Happy occasions and moments of celebration are always highlighted by good music. Students listen to music when cramming for a test. For every day, occasion, or moment, music plays different roles. Simply put, music is an ever-present companion no matter the day, time, or occasion. In large part, this is because music moves us. It affects the way we think, feel, and see things.
Music and the Brain
Studies reveal that the brain releases the hormone dopamine when people listen to music they like, or associate with. Dopamine is one of the brain’s four neurotransmitters associated with feelings of happiness; “happy hormones,” they’re usually called, which include, apart from dopamine, endorphins, serotonin, and oxytocin. To put it another way, when you listen to music, you activate your happy hormones.
Apart from releasing your happy hormones, there are other ways that music affects the brain. Here are a few examples:
Music Helps with Information Retention and Learning
When you hear a certain song, it’s likely that something from your past will come to the surface. Often, we associate music with parts of our lives. Certain songs remind you of certain people. Sometimes, they remind you of a place you once visited or an occasion that made you feel happy. Whatever it is, music makes memories from the past come to the surface. What does this tell you? Music has a powerful effect on memory, which is why you instinctively tune in to your favorite tunes when you’re studying or working on a project.
In a nutshell, music enhances learning and boosts memory.
Music Improves Mood
When you’re feeling stressed, anxious, lonely, or depressed, what do you instinctively do? Chances are, you put on your headphones and listen to your favorite tunes. Usually, people do this for two things: to shut out their triggers and to feel better. When you’re feeling sad, for instance, and you listen to an upbeat tune, what usually happens is you start tapping your feet, snapping your fingers, and eventually moving to the music. And as you continue to do this, you begin to feel better. You have activated your happy hormones.
Apart from these, music affects the brain in the following ways as well:
- Makes you more creative
- Enhances productivity
- Encourages “neighborly behaviors” like being more compassionate and generous; kinder, cooperative, and helpful
Stay tuned to Tiffany Ashurian‘s blog site for more on music, the arts, and related topics.