How does music impact on brain? - Seeker's Thoughts

Recent Posts

Seeker's Thoughts

A blog for the curious and the creative.

How does music impact on brain?


How Does Music Impact on Brain?

Music is the art of manipulating sound to form structures such as form, harmony, melody, rhythm or other expressive forms that serve to shape society and culture. Music has always been part of human history and represents a universally shared experience.

Music can make us feel good, but did you also know it can also improve our memory and learning capabilities? No matter which song it is - even ones you may dislike will provide its benefits!

Dopamine Release

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that allows nerve cells to communicate over short distances. Neuroscientists have become especially fascinated with it as it plays an integral part in motivation, addiction, and neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson's.

Music can trigger the release of dopamine in the brain and make people respond positively, which explains why many listen to specific types of music; they enjoy how it makes them feel. Furthermore, positive emotions triggered by music also help strengthen working memory.

Dopamine helps the brain focus on tasks at hand, which explains why many people enjoy exercising to music - the rhythm helps them stay on task while exercising. Concert-goers or fans of certain musicians might enjoy attending shows live; but even listening to recordings may still prove beneficial.

According to research conducted by scholars from UC Berkeley and MIT, listening to classical music may increase dopamine levels in the brain. Their findings were published in Nature journal.

Nan Li, a postdoc in Jasanoff's laboratory and lead author of this study, utilized fiber optic cannulation to record neural activity within an area known as the striatum in order to analyze motor control, motivation, addiction and reward processes within this region of the brain.

Cannulas were used by the team to observe that certain subcircuits of the striatum release dopamine in response to rewards and stimuli. Next, they mapped this subcircuit's connections with regions of the brain responsible for movement, cognition and memory.

Dopamine plays an integral part of human life, from encouraging us to learn and explore to keeping our body moving. As it acts as our "reward" system in the brain, dopamine may explain why some harmful activities continue even though they're detrimental such as drug abuse.

Dopamine also comes with some drawbacks, however. Too little dopamine - such as that seen in schizophrenia or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - may lead to issues in thinking and emotions while too much dopamine, as seen with mania or depression, can cause abnormal behavior and hallucinations.

Memory Enhancement

Researchers discovered that playing music engages areas of the brain responsible for focussing attention and remembering events, making learning an instrument so advantageous for children. Listening to favorite tunes also can benefit Alzheimer's patients by prompting memories that don't fade over time.

When we hear music, the auditory cortex is usually the first area of our brains that reacts. This large region serves to differentiate between various sounds and is the heart of musical hearing. Additionally, this part of our minds responds to rhythm, pitch and tonality in songs as well as helping remember words as well as visual-spatial data such as shapes patterns or locations.

The occipital lobe is another crucial area that aids our appreciation of music. This part of the brain allows musicians to visualize a piece they are listening to. Studies have also indicated that when stimulated, this area can improve verbal and spatial memory.

The frontal lobe of the brain is one of its key areas, providing decision-making, planning, and thinking functions. When stimulated with music listening, this area can improve its processing speed and accuracy of sound waves. People who play instruments tend to possess superior verbal and spatial skills compared to non-players.

 Furthermore, musicians possess a highly developed corpus callosum area within the brain that allows communication between right and left hemispheres. "Piano players rely on intuition for everything from reading music off a page and translating it onto their fingers on the keyboard, to understanding complex logical arguments and having intuitive insights." Simply stated, music can strengthen the frontal lobe. Contrary to what may happen with other activities where one pathway becomes inactive for extended periods, regular listening of music strengthens this part of your brain instead.

Stress Reduction

Music stimulates your brain in unique ways. Listeners experience it as activation of parts of their brain that decode each element of a song - melody, rhythm etc - before combining them to hear an unified piece. For musicians however, the impact can be even stronger: playing an instrument activates many additional brain regions and networks - including some involved with spatial-temporal learning, neurogenesis (the ability of neurons to produce neurons) and inducing happiness.

As an example, playing the piano engages the frontal lobe of your brain which is responsible for decision-making and planning, intuition and body movement coordination, language development and memory formation in general (temporal lobe). Studies show that regular listening to music helps maintain strong pathways within this area of your mind which in turn improves quality of life and overall mood.

Music can help relieve your stress by stimulating the release of dopamine and cortisol - two chemicals which affect your blood pressure - in your system. According to one study, people undergoing stressful medical procedures were able to relax more easily when listening to soothing music than watching television or reading books.

Music also helps stimulate neural networks that store positive and personal memories, according to psychotherapist Jordan Vyas-Lee. When depression strikes, this information becomes restricted and must be unlocked so as to stimulate problem solving skills as well as adaptive and positive behavioral repertoires.

The occipital lobe is another key brain region involved in appreciating and playing music, enabling us to visualize musical scores as we listen, while musicians use it to visualize what they hear while they perform. Our sense of rhythm and beat also originate from this region of our brains, according to research findings that when 13 older adults took piano lessons their attention, memory, problem solving abilities as well as mood and quality of life all improved significantly as a result.

Music can play an essential part of our lives and has the power to enhance mental well-being, cognitive function, foster happiness and even manage pain. However, if you are finding it hard to manage new or existing stressors on your own, seeking professional assistance could provide tools and strategies necessary for leading a more balanced existence.

Mood Enhancement

Music instantly stimulates your pleasure centers, leading to the release of dopamine. As such, when music enters your brain it often triggers its pleasure centers, leading you to tap your feet to its beat, sing along to favorite songs or even dance along to them!

Add to that, music stimulates brain regions responsible for emotions. That explains why so many different feelings can be generated by listening to one tune: from happiness to fear and beyond. Musical emotions are generally created by amygdala which is responsible for processing emotional responses; additionally hippocampus has been proven to aid recall and regulate memory recall - though damage to this part of the brain by conditions like Alzheimer's can wreak havoc with both memory recall and emotion regulation.

Research has demonstrated the unique ways music stimulates our brain. When we listen to music, our brain decodes every element - melody, rhythm and lyrics - before synthesizing them all into an emotional experience. This is why hearing familiar songs on radio or in a bar can be so satisfying; our minds know exactly what each track means and can draw out all its emotion. However, new music poses unique challenges as our minds try to make sense of unfamiliar sounds and decipher their meaning.

Jordan Vyas-Lee, co-founder of Kove Clinic therapy practice in London England, claims that listening to upbeat music activates neural networks in our brain that store positive and personal memories - the very kind that are blocked during bouts of depression.

Researchers have also discovered that musicians have superior cognitive abilities compared to non-musicians, likely as a result of the learning music requiring complex motor and cognitive skills that stimulates plasticity of the brain, helping improve areas such as spatial-temporal reasoning, verbal memory and the ability to memorize.

No comments:

Post a Comment