Music has been an integral part of human culture for centuries, touching our hearts and souls in ways that words alone cannot. It's not just a form of entertainment; it's a universal language that transcends borders and speaks to our emotions. A 2019 article from CNN explores the profound impact of music on our brains and behavior. In this blog, we'll summarize the key findings of this article and delve into how music influences our thoughts and feelings.
The Power of Music
The article highlights the idea that music has the power to move us emotionally, from inducing tears of sadness to sparking feelings of joy and nostalgia. In previous blogs, we have explored this phenomenon in depth and continue to unpack some of the ways that music touches our emotions.
This power can be used both positively and negatively. The CNN article begins by describing the way in which "drill" music, a genre of rap characterized by threatening lyrics, may be linked to an increase in crime.
"The content of these songs is about gang rivalry, and unlike other genres, the audience might judge the performer based on whether he will follow through with what he claims in his lyrics, writes the study’s author, Craig Pinkney, a criminologist and lecturer at the University College Birmingham, in the UK."
The Brain's Response to Music
The article highlights the influence of music on the human brain, particularly how our brains respond to music. Research has shown that listening to music activates multiple regions of the brain, including those associated with memory, emotion, and even physical movement. When we listen to music, our brains release dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter, which explains why music can boost our mood and create a sense of pleasure.
Music can also initiate a sense of time travel as it instantly transport us back in time, evoking vivid memories and emotions associated with specific songs or melodies. This aspect of music is so powerful that it is now being used as a promising treatment for people struggling with neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Dementia.
Power Over Emotions And Feelings
The article delves into the concept of emotional resonance, where the emotions expressed in music can mirror or amplify our own feelings. This phenomenon is why we often turn to music when we're sad, choosing melancholic tunes that provide solace and understanding. Alternatively, upbeat and energetic music can motivate and energize us during workouts or challenging tasks.
"Researchers at the University of Groningenshowed in an experiment that listening to sad or happy music can not only put people in a different mood, but also change what people notice."
The article highlights a 2011study where 43 students listened to happy or sad music as they were tasked with identifying happy and sad faces. When happy music was played participants spotted more happy faces and the opposite was true for sad music. This is just a small example of music's influence over our mood and feelings.
Beyond our thoughts and feelings, music can also have a strong influence over our spending habits. According to research, the four key musical elements that affect our urge to purchase are tempo, mode, genre, and loudness. Brands may leverage this information to subtly influence customers when they enter into a storefront as a means to increase sales as well as improve the in-store customer experience.
In summary, the CNN article emphasizes the profound influence of music on our minds and emotions. Having an understanding of the ways in which music can influence us on a subtle level is key, as it helps us to maintain a sense of awareness within ourselves. As always, we will continue to explore and unpack music's influence in our daily lives.