Thursday, September 25, 2014

How Does Music Affect You?

     The topic of this blog was completely different before I turned on Spotify and started listening to my "starred" songs saved in a folder. I got so distracted by what each song meant to me that I couldn't concentrate on the original topic (something health/fitness related). Being an impulsive person with an attention deficit who tries to pay attention to the "signs the universe sends", I felt I should just go with what was moving me at the moment...MUSIC!
     How many times have you heard a song on the radio and can remember exactly where you were or what you were doing (and with whom) the first time you heard it? It's more than just a memory, it's a physiological reaction. Part of the reason that music tends to be so meaningful to us is that it's deeply intertwined with memory. Because the brain is so completely engaged in listening to music, it's one of the parts of a situation that is remembered most clearly later on. Songs and pieces of music can serve as powerful triggers for memories - hence the cliche about couples and "their song." (

     So what causes such an intense reaction? Not all songs have lyrics, such as "Taps" a musical piece sounded at dusk, and at funerals, particularly by the U.S. military. It is sounded during flag ceremonies and funerals, generally on bugle or trumpethappy" music stimulates the reward centers of the brain, causing the production of the chemical dopamine. That's the same chemical produced from eating great food, having sex, and taking drugs. That's why songs that were played the first time you fell in love will always bring back intense emotions (anything by Lionel Richie if you're over 45 years old!), more so than other songs of that era.
but the ones that do draw upon the language centers of the brain. Brain imaging studies have shown that "

      Researchers at Brigham Young University found evidence that infants as young as five months are able to discern when a happy song is playing, and by nine months they've added comprehension of sad music to their repertoire. (
     About 50 percent of people get chills when listening to music. Research shows that’s because music stimulates an ancient reward pathway in the brain, encouraging dopamine to flood the striatum—a part of the forebrain activated by addiction, reward, and motivation. Music, it seems, may affect our brains the same way that sex, gambling, and potato chips do.  (
     So how does music affect you? Does playing musical instruments trigger something inside of you?
I've learned how to play a guitar several years ago and can honestly say I don't get chills or any emotional feeling from it other than a sense of accomplishment to learn something new. Certain songs, however, can completely change my thoughts and mood within seconds! Comment below with 3 songs that trigger emotions for you and tell me what it reminds you of!