Music And The Human Brain

Music can bring back a memory so clearly you can virtually touch it. Music can make us cry at the movies and bring us to our feet at sports events. Music can make us experience happiness as well as bring tears to our eyes. So what's the connection between music and the brain?


Music And The Human BrainVirtually every human loves to hear music, or at least responds with some kind of emotion when music is heard.

Millions of boom boxes, stereos, mp3 players etc. are sold every day and music has proven to be something we all have in common and love to listen to.

Now with the latest scanning equipment we may find out why the human brain loves music so much.

fMRI or "Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging", is a brain scan that gives a clear image of which parts of the brain are working during any given activity.

fMRI measures blood flow to various parts of the brain over time as opposed to showing a static image of the brain.

fMRI can show the location in the brain that's more active while listening to music, and scientists are using fMRI to gradually map these areas in greater detail.

New research using the fMRI has shown that the brain's activity changes with the music being played. It has been found that the area of the brain that is active while processing music is also active during memory retrieval, reasoning and while processing emotions. This study could explain the connection between emotions and music.  We've always known about the relationship but are just now starting to see why.

Today we use music in movies to enhance our feelings of fear, happiness, laughter, sadness, love, shock and even impending doom. Retail stores play "Here Comes Santa Clause" to get us in the mood to purchase more product. We play music at parties to make everyone feel good while they're our guests. Listening to soothing music can help us drift off to sleep.

Can we expect musicians of the future to use the new technology to produce top hit records by gauging emotion during the music's playback? Possibly retailers of the future will evoke certain emotions through music, based on research done with fMRIs or future scanners, one tune for the garden section and another for the clothing section. It could also be possible that music will replace medication for emotional illnesses.

The future will be exciting and you can bet we'll be listening to our music as we watch it unfold.

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