Music effects on brain: It changes your perceptions


Music is a beautiful art that combines instrumental and vocal sound for emotional expression. Throughout history, it has been connected with rituals and drama. It is credited with the ability to reflect emotions. The genre you listen to defines who you are. The music effects on the emotional brain can help reduce anxiety and stress. Apart from the emotional responses of the brain, it can also help improve cognition. The Mozart effect is a proven method. The specific music you relate to can bring back your emotions and memories associated.

Effect of music on different regions of the brain

It was long known that music influences the right hemisphere of the brain. However, recent studies prove that music distributes throughout the brain. Every musical activity from listening, singing, and playing an instrument engages every region of the brain. The activation of these regions intensify while performing, i.e., playing an instrument or singing.

The most essential is the activation of the corpus callosum.

Playing a musical instrument requires body movements and analyzing the tune. It requires coordination of both left and right hemispheres (the dominant and non-dominant brain).

Thus, the corpus callosum activity with music helps in the coordination.

The neural connections involved in empathy and thought are strong when we listen to the music we like. The same connection weakens when we dislike a certain rhythm. Listening to favorite songs alters the connectivity between auditory brain and memory.

It is never too late to learn music. Old who are more connected with music seems to be resilient to cognitive and memory complications. It can induce neuroplasticity (alternate connections) and prevent neurodegeneration in the hippocampal region. It cures complications that include brain atrophy (neural cell death)– like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Moreover, it also increases blood flow to the brain, keeping it healthy.

Besides, it improves mood orientation, attention, and general cognition in Dementia. Also, it helps reduce blood pressure and heart rate.

Effects of music on the psychological brain

Your taste of music defines who you are. By analyzing the top favorite songs of a person, you can analyze their personality. Their choice of genre is evident to tell if they are extroverts or introverts. Your reaction to a particular song varies– for instance, you may not like a specific song, but can connect to the emotions expressed. Music can improve social interaction, reduce agitation, and improve overall mood. Besides, after listening to a particular sad/happy group of songs, your perception changes.

Even a neutral expression can mean happy/sad to you, depending on the song you heard.

You can have two reactions for a song–perceived emotions and felt emotions. Perceived emotions are when you listen to a sad song and feel enjoyable rather than depressive because you aren’t in the same shoe as the artist. You can only perceive the emotion without actually feeling it.

This is the reason why film and music directors include background music to tell us how to feel, especially if the situation is unclear to the audience. Usually, music is what makes action or drama epic. These scenes, when played only with the appropriate background music, can give the chills and goosebumps to the viewers. The audience also feels connected to the drama.

Is music addictive like a drug? 

Listening to music can give us the chills sometimes. This “high” experience is due to the release of dopamine from the nucleus accumbens. Dopamine is responsible for the feeling of satisfaction and pleasure in one.

Since listening to music can induce the release of dopamine, it is also considered addictive. We listen to our favorite songs over and over again for the same experience.

The “euphoric highs” are reinforced by neurochemistry, and we keep coming back to them. The effect is similar to substance abuse, like cocaine and morphine. It is the reason people go to great heights and spend a lot of time, money, and effort on an ideal musical experience.

For instance, the musical groups of the religious organizations get the audience on “high” whether they are on drugs or not. Similarly, listening to music while doing drugs can induce different trance. Although it is essential to note that it doesn’t harm, instead, it intensifies the feeling of satisfaction and pleasure. The feeling may be addictive.

Although various other addictions can affect our overall health, music addiction is not an issue, unless it interrupts your schedule. It can keep you hooked up for a lot of time that you forget to get some things done at the correct time.

Effects of music on emotional brain

Music also influences the Amygdala— region that processes emotions.

Music can help control the hyperactivity of Amygdala, reducing anxiety. It also helps lower the cortisol level reducing stress.

Hence it is a recommended coping strategy for anxiety and stress. It also goes back to the tribal setting where they listened to music in groups. This sociality would strengthen social bonding, improving the quality of life.

Music makes a person feel better. A sad and depressed individual prefers sad music over happy ones. If it can change the perception of an individual, why won’t they listen to happy music to make themselves feel better? The answer to this question is that he/she is depressed when they feel no one understands them.

Listening to happy music will aggravate the symptoms, worsening the condition. While listening to sad music, they feel connected to the lyrics. They feel the artist can understand them, which eventually makes them feel better. The opposite effect is a prolonged sense of sadness and grief. In other words, listening to music while disturbed emotionally can improve or worsen your mood.

Music can also act as a pain reliever since it releases Opioids in the brain. The evidence to back up this activity is the use of Naltrexone– Opioid blocker-in studies. Subjects under Naltraxone influence didn’t experience the same emotions and physiological responses as those who weren’t. Reports suggest that it improves the symptoms of fibromyalgia patients.

Why do most prefer listening to music while working out?

Music makes your exercise easy. A study found that cyclists who listened to music performed better than those who didn’t. Usually, while exercising, your hard-working body parts send a fatigue signal to your brain. It is the moment you decide to take a break. But, while listening to music, the mind is busy interpreting the tone and emotion of the song, eventually overriding the signals.

Besides, the study also proved that music reduces oxygen consumption by a considerable percentile while exercising. However, this rule applies only to low and moderate-intensity exercises and gives no significant effect in a high-intensity workout.

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