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How Music Affects The Brain Psychology

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Music Can Improve Mood

How Music Affects The Brain Psychology

Another of the science-backed benefits of music is that it just might make you happier. In one examination of the reasons why people listen to music, researchers discovered that music played an important role in relating arousal and mood. Participants rated music’s ability to help them achieve a better mood and become more self-aware as two of the most important functions of music.

Another study found that intentionally trying to boost moods by listening to positive music could have an impact within two weeks. Participants were instructed to purposefully attempt to improve their mood by listening to positive music each day for two weeks.

Other participants listened to music but were not directed to become happier intentionally. When participants were later asked to describe their own levels of happiness, those who had intentionally tried to improve their moods reported feeling happier after just two weeks.

Music Your Brain & Wellbeing

One of the first things that happens when music enters our brains is the triggering of pleasure centers that release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy. This response is so quick, the brain can even anticipate the most pleasurable peaks in familiar music and prime itself with an early dopamine rush.

Beyond simply making you feel good, however, there’s evidence that music can even be good for your health. Research has shown that listening to music is associated with upticks in immunity-boosting antibodies and cells that protect against bacteria and other invaders. Music has also proven to be effective across a variety of treatment scenarios for conditions ranging from premature birth to depression to Parkinson’s disease.

Even in terms of brain development, music can play a key role. Training to play an instrument, for instance, is believed to increase gray matter volume in certain areas of the brain, not unlike how physical exercise can tone and enlarge muscles. As a result, musicians often experience improvement in brain functions like:

  • Auditory processing
  • Learning
  • Memory

How Music Can Change The Way You Feel And Act

Editors Note: This feature is part of Music and Your Mind, a series exploring how music affects your brain. Read part 2 on healing and part 3 on torture.

Music is present in every part of our lives. Our spiritual rituals are framed with songs, children learn the alphabet through song and the malls and cafes we visit during our leisure time are rarely silent.

But just how much can this ever-present thing impact us and the way we act and feel? Research suggests music can influence us a lot. It can impact illness, depression, spending, productivity and our perception of the world.

Some research has suggested it can increase aggressive thoughts, or encourage crime.

Recently, a UK study explored how drill music a genre of rap characterized by threatening lyrics might be linked to attention-seeking crime. Thats not new, but the emergence of social media allows more recording and sharing.

The content of these songs is about gang rivalry, and unlike other genres, the audience might judge the performer based on whether he will follow through with what he claims in his lyrics, writes the studys author, Craig Pinkney, a criminologist and lecturer at the University College Birmingham, in the UK.

Beside music, the paper looks at social medias role in fueling violence. The online platforms readily used by many, have given gang rivalries the chance to move online and encourage comments from supporters and opposing groups, which only adds to the pressure to react.

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It Helps The Symptoms Of Depression

A 2017 research review concluded that listening to music, particularly classical combined with jazz, had a positive effect on depression symptoms, especially when there were several listening sessions conducted by board certified music therapists.

Not into jazz or the classics? You may want to try a group percussion session instead. The same research review found that drum circles also had above-average benefits for people dealing with depression.

Music Can Improve Motivation

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There is a good reason why you find it easier to exercise while you listen to music. Researchers have found that listening to fast-paced music motivates people to work out harder.

One experiment designed to investigate this effect tasked 12 healthy male students with cycling on a stationary bike at self-paced speeds. On three different trials, the participants biked for 25 minutes at a time while listening to a playlist of six different popular songs of various tempos.

Unknown to the listeners, the researchers made subtle differences to the music and then measured performance. The music was left at a normal speed, increased by 10%, or decreased by 10%.

Speeding up the tracks resulted in increased performance in terms of distance covered, the speed of pedaling, and power exerted. Conversely, slowing down the music’s tempo led to decreases in all of these variables.

So if you are trying to stick to a workout routine, consider loading up a playlist filled with fast-paced tunes that will help boost your motivation and enjoyment of your exercise regimen.

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The Structure Among The Functions Of Music

With each successive study of musical functions, the aggregate list of potential uses has grown longer. Questionnaire studies, in particular, have led to the proliferation of possible ways in which music may be relevant in people’s lives. Even if one sidesteps the question of possible evolutionary origins, the multitude of hundreds of proposed functions raises the question of whether these might not be distilled to a smaller set of basic dimensions.

As noted earlier, previous research appears to converge on four dimensions: social functions , emotional functions , cognitive or self-related functions , and arousal-related functions . These four dimensions might well account for the basic ways in which people use music in their daily lives.

Accordingly, we propose to address the question of musical functions anew, starting with the most comprehensive list yet of potential music-related functions. In addition, we will aim to recruit a sample of participants covering all age groups, a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds, and pursue our analysis without biasing the materials to any specific theory.

Our Music Choices Can Predict Our Personality

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Take this one with a grain of salt, because its only been tested on young adults , but its still really interesting.

In a study of couples who spent time getting to know each other, looking at each others top ten favorite songs actually provided fairly reliable predictions as to the listeners personality traits.

The study used five personality traits for the test: openness to experience, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and emotional stability.

Interestingly, some traits were more accurately predicted based on the persons listening habits than others. For instance, openness to experience, extraversion and emotional stability were the easiest to guess correctly. Conscientiousness, on the other hand, wasnt obvious based on musical taste.

Here is also a break-down of how the different genres correspond to our personality, according to a study conducted at Heriot-Watt University:

To break it down, here is the connection they have found:

  • Blues fans have high self-esteem, are creative, outgoing, gentle and at ease
  • Jazz fans have high self-esteem, are creative, outgoing and at ease
  • Classical music fans have high self-esteem, are creative, introvert and at ease
  • Rap fans have high self-esteem and are outgoing
  • Opera fans have high self-esteem, are creative and gentle
  • Country and western fans are hardworking and outgoing
  • Dance fans are creative and outgoing but not gentle

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Associations Between Musical Features And Peak Periods Of Frontal Asymmetry

Individual Musical Features

Several individual musical features coincided with peak FA events. Each of these musical features occurred in over 40% of the total peak alpha asymmetry events identified throughout the sample and appear to be closely related to changes in musical structure. These included changes in motif and instruments , as well as pitch . Such findings are in line with previous studies measuring non-central physiological measures of affective responding. For example, high level factor musical features such as instrument change, specifically changes and alternations between orchestra and solo piece instruments have been cited to coincide with chill responses . Similarly, pitch events have been observed in previous research to coincide with various physiological measures of emotional responding including skin conductance and heart rate . In the current study, instances of high pitch were most closely associated with physiological reactions. These findings can be explained through Juslin and Slobodas description of the activation of a brain stem reflex in response to changes in basic acoustic events. Changes in loudness and high pitch levels may trigger physiological reactions on account of being psychoacoustic features of music that are shared with more primitive auditory stimuli that signal relevance for survival to real events.

Feature Clusters of Musical Feature Combinations

How Music Affects The Frontal Lobe

How Music Affects The Brain And Your Emotions

The frontal lobe, on the other hand, is where we do our thinking, planning, and reasoning. While neurologists have yet to fully understand how music affects the frontal lobe, we do know that our interests and opinions about music and specifically our tastes in genres and songs ;stem from frontal lobe activity.

Research shows that the frontal lobe functions as a hub for how we respond to certain music. Those specifics continue to be the focus of much study, but this area of the brain is a frequent focus for music therapists.;

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Musical Training Before Age 7 Can Benefit Brain Function For A Lifespan

Posted November 13, 2013

    Neuroscientists are discovering multiple ways that musical training improves the function and connectivity of different brain regions. Musical training increases brain volume and strengthens communication between brain areas. Playing an instrument changes how the brain interprets and integrates a wide range of sensory information, especially for those who start before age 7. These findings were presented at the Neuroscience 2013 conference in San Diego.

    In a press briefing on November 11, 2013 Gottfried Schlaug, MD, PhDwho is an expert on music, neuroimaging and brain plasticity from Harvard Medical Schoolsummarized the new research from three different presentations at the conference. These insights suggest potential new roles for musical training including fostering plasticity in the brain; have strong implications for using musical training as a tool in education; and for treating a range of learning disabilities.

    Playing a musical instrument can cause fundamental changes in a young person’s brain, shaping both how it functions and how it is physically structured, researchers say. “Listening to and making music is not only an auditory experience, but it is a multisensory and motor experience. Making music over a long period of time can change brain function and brain structure,” Schlaug said.

    Three Brain Benefits of Musical Training:

  • Musicians have an enhanced ability to integrate sensory information from hearing, touch, and sight.

  • How Music Affects The Mood

    Music has been part of human society for millennia. It has long been understood that music impacts our feelings and mood, but the reasons for that impact have not been studied until very recently.

    Now, brain scans and psychological research are discovering the mechanisms that lead to mood changes or mood regulation that are associated with music. This includes why listening to different kinds of music improves focus, helps to manage mood during stress, or improves mood during times of sadness.

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    On The Origins Of A New Science

    The present crescendo of interest in music and the mind is a far cry from the scholarly silence on the topic in 1969 when Lola Cuddy set up Canadas first proto music psychology lab at Queens University.There was not much talk of the mind, and there wasnt much talk of music because it wasnt something behavioural that you could measure like an animal running down a maze, says Dr. Cuddy, Canadas grande dame of music psychology, an emeritus professor at Queens and still leading a research lab.

    Music gained an academic toehold, she says, with the cognitive psychology revolution. Rather than a behaviorist approach focused on only observable physical behaviours, cognitive psychologists studied the brain as mind, those experiences going on inside our heads that cant be directly observed, such as memory and feelings. It was a shift in perspective that profoundly changed the way psychologists saw music.

    Everybody was seeing music as an art, as a cultural artifact that we really didnt have to pay attention to, says cognitive neuropsychologist and Belgian native Isabelle Peretz. In the early 1980s, she sidelined dreams of a career as a professional classical guitarist to begin to pick away at the psychology of music at Université de Montréal.

    How Our Brains Process Sound

    Music With Mr. Barrett: Music & The Brain

    Music is a powerful and often emotional experience for many people, yet so few of us fully appreciate how specific sounds affect our mood. But before we explore the physiology of musics effect on the brain, its important to understand how our bodies interact with sound as a whole.;

    Put simply, our body perceives sound as vibrations and translates those signals to electric pulses. While that might not seem particularly simple ;in fact it is one of the more complex things our bodies do each day scientists have unraveled the principle stages of how sound moves from the source to the brain.

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    Music As A Therapy Tool

    New studies continue to showcase musics effects on the brain. As a result, music therapy has become an increasingly valuable tool for helping patients with all sorts of injuries and negative life experiences. While trauma of any sort can lead to different types of brain atrophy, we now know that music can have the opposite effect; it may not fully repair damaged brain tissue, but music therapy can help create new pathways to compensate for that loss.;;

    A 2018 study proved that changes in brain function activates specific areas of the brain, which can promote healing. And that healing can take a variety of forms, such as reduced depression, improved abstract thinking, heightened motivation, etc.

    That study went on to suggest that music therapy could be used to deal with anything from subjective distress experience in chronic pain syndromes, to the reward circuitry involved in addictive disorders, to the psychomotor pathways involved in Parkinsons disease, and even to the functional connectivity changes that occur in autism spectrum disorders.

    That is not to say that music is some sort of mystical cure-all for every ailment. But there is evidence that implementation of music therapy can succeed as a means of giving people strength as they undergo surgery, chemotherapy, and other complicated treatment regimens.;

    How Music Improves Your Mood And Reduces Stress

    Science has now proven what music lovers already know, that listening to upbeat music can improve;your mood.

    Listening to and playing music reduces chronic stress by lowering the stress hormone cortisol.;

    Music can;make you feel more hopeful, powerful, and in control of your life.;

    By increasing endorphins, listening to music can help you cope with pain.;

    Listening to sad music has its benefits too.

    If you are going through a tough time, listening to sad music can be cathartic.;

    It can help you get in touch with your emotions to help you heal.

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    How Music Makes You More Productive And Creative

    Theres abundant evidence that listening to music while you work can make you happier and more productive.

    This is especially true if you can choose your own music.

    Office workers allowed to listen to their preferred choice of music complete tasks more quickly and come up with better ideas than those who have no control over their sound environment.;

    Background music enhances performance on cognitive tasks, improves accuracy, and;enables the completion of repetitive tasks more efficiently.

    ” When children had as little as four years of music lessons, they experienced long-term cognitive benefits that researchers could detect 40 years later.;

    The effects of music on productivity have been studied in some very specific occupations.

    Software developers were happier and produced better work more efficiently when listening to music.

    When surgeons listened to music while operating, they were less stressed out and worked faster and more accurately, especially if they were allowed to pick the music.;

    Music can help;people perform better in high-pressure situations.

    Listening to upbeat music before a game can keep athletes from choking under pressure.

    Music is a source of creativity, especially when its upbeat.

    When study participants listened to music labeled happy, their creativity went up.

    They came up with more creative solutions and a greater number of ideas than those who listened to other kinds of music or no music at all.

    Music Improves Your Focus

    How Music Affects Your Body, Brain and Mental Health

    Have you evernoticed what happens when your favorite song comes on your playlist?

    A sort oftunnel vision happens where you focus on the elements of the song and how theymake you feel.

    This improvedfocus occurs because music is one of the few things in this world thatstimulates the entire brain instead of just a portion of it.

    You can applythis benefit of music in several unique ways.

    Some people use music to help them clear their minds when meditating.

    Others usemusic while studying or working so they can retain more of the information thatthey are attempting to absorb.

    It is usefulduring a lengthy session of exercise on a treadmill because it takes the mindsfocus off of fatigue and toward whatever the end goal happens to be.

    One of the mostnovel focal points that music is able to create is a focus on sleep.

    For those who struggle to clear their minds because of racing thoughts or to-do lists at night, music will eliminate those distractions effectively and cause the brain to focus on the task at hand instead.

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