Get your dopamine flowing with music!

Most people enjoy listening to music, but some people do not. For some music just does not do much, either emotionally or cognitively. Studies around how people experience music can help us understand the mechanisms behind the enjoyment of music.

This study suggests that “Our model posits (puts forward) that hedonic (great word, it has a lot of synonyms but let’s just say sensual) responses to music are the result of connectivity between structures involved in auditory perception as a predictive (to anticipate) process, and those involved in the brain’s dopaminergic (pleasure, euphoric, starts the adrenalin pumping) reward system.”

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In other words, listening to music, and possibly making music, activates a connection between the part of our brain that is processing the sounds with a cognitive process that anticipates what is coming next. It is like when we listen to a chord progression and we know which chord is coming next before we hear it. We get a little shot of satisfaction (dopamine) when our prediction is right. Think of that moment when the killer is revealed in a thriller movie or book and you yell, “I knew it!”.

But interestingly, our brains also get a shot of dopamine satisfaction when our prediction is not as we had predicted. Think back to that thriller movie or book, when you get the twist part of you is disappointed, but another part may be even more intrigued at the unpredictable twist.

Our brain loves consistency and variety all at the same time!

Read more here


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