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What happens in your brain when you listen to your favorite music?

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It is more or less easy to predict what kinds of movies will appeal to most audiences, and it is not difficult to do the same with movies. books or the video game.

However, with music it seems that this does not happen so much: we all have musical pieces in mind that, although they do not resemble what we usually prefer to listen to, they catch us. That is why it is curious that Favorite songsIn all their variety and whatever they are, they produce a similar effect on the brain of the listener.

In fact, music can define, in a way, who we are and how we think, as we saw in the articles:

  • "What music do smart people listen to?" Y...

  • "Music and personality: what connection do they have?".

Music and memory

Thanks to brain activity monitoring systems, today we know a little more about what happens in our nervous system when we listen to songs that we like. The results show typical activation patterns and that are repeated each time that experience is passed through.

It does not matter the genre or practically the duration

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: The music that we find enjoyable has certain and relatively predictable effects on the patterns of neural activity in our body.

What happens in our brain when we listen to our favorite music?

Specific, strong electrical connections are made between the auditory areas of the brain and the hippocampus, a part related to memory and emotionality. That means that the neural processes that a fan of Turbonegro are very similar to those that are given in the head of an amateur Chopin when both of you are listening to what you like, no matter how different the vibrations that reach your eardrums.

The finding would also help explain why totally different pieces of music can trigger very similar emotional states in different people and the role of music in the remembrance of regards. Furthermore, it is further proof of how closely related memories and emotions are linked at the time of retrieval.

However, the main thing about the study is that it shows how our brain is capable of turning any series of sound stimuli to awaken moods to some degree unpredictable, related to the musical taste of the listener. In this sense, it has also been seen that we are capable of making music something pleasant by identifying ourselves with what we listen by relating it to our memories and thus helping to give them a satisfactory meaning or to use it in order to better regulate our emotions.

Different stimuli, same result

Of course, every moment has its potential "ideal music" and we probably wouldn't get the same results if we would force someone to listen to their favorite song for longer than desired, for example, or at a time when they don't feel like it hear nothing.

See, for example, A Clockwork Orange. However, in most cases there seems to be the paradox that very complex and changing processes (the adaptation of the brain for the enjoyment of virtually any piece of music) result in a stereotypical activation pattern and predictable. It is a test of the brain's ability to reach the same results from different starting situations, and memory plays a fundamental role in this process.

Beyond laboratory experiments, it is clear that the sensation of listening to music of our liking is unique and to some extent indescribable. However, if we lift the hood of our nervous system and observe what happens in it during this experience, we will realize that behind such subjective sensations there is a network of neurons acting with sense.

Bibliographic references:

  • Kawakami, A., Furukawa, K., Katahira, K. and Okanoya, Kazuo. (2013). Sad music induces pleasant emotion. Frontirs in Psychology, 4 (311).
  • Van den Tol, A. J. M., Edwards, J. (2014). Listening to sad music in adverse situations: How music selection strategies relate to self-regulatory goals, listening effects, and mood enhancement. Psychology of Music.
  • Wilkins, R. W., Hodges, D. A., Laurienti, P. J., Steen, M. And Burdette, J. H. (2014). Network Science and the Effects of Music Preference on Functional Brain Connectivity: From Beethoven to Eminem. Scientific Reports, 4. doi: 10.1038 / srep06130
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