The explanation of the effects of music through the brain
For many, music is an important part of our lives. It accompanies us in the happy moments, in the sad moments, they produce sensations that sometimes do not know to explain, they can even make us cry. Music produces reactions and excites us. But why does a set of sounds have so much effect on us? What happens in our brain when we hear a song?
How music makes us happy
Of this subject we had already spoken in an earlier article of Medciencia. For the comments of some studies with functional magnetic resonance that evaluated the brains of subjects and they listened to their favorite song, seeing thus that activated areas. What is found is that they activated the same areas that work during sex, trade or drug use, we talk about areas related to pleasure and reward:
– The nucleus accumbens: This area releases dopamine during the most emotional moments of the song.
– The caudate nucleus: This releases the dopamine before the emotional moment of the song and the peak of it. This area is related to the anticipation of pleasure. This area is activated because we have a memory of that song, of the well-being and pleasure that it produces the first time we hear it. So this response causes us to be biologically driven to listen to music that we do not like, and therefore to listen to a And again The same songs
But there is no other question …
What does it depend on that there is no song or not in the first place?
To do this, the study was repeated with an MRI, exposing the participants to a music that was new to them, songs they had never heard before. They were given money with the instruction of what they spend on the music they wanted, which they like most.
Surprisingly it was seen that again the nucleus accumbens was responsible. When a subject enjoyed a song to buy, a release of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens was observed at MRI. In addition, a new activation appeared. When they enjoyed a new song, there was an increase in the interaction between the higher cortical areas and the nucleus accumbens, these higher areas are responsible for pattern recognition, musical memory and emotional processing.
It seems that when listening to songs that are not familiar, what we do is to pull memory circuits in order to try to predict where the song will go, as the pattern will follow, comparing it with what we already know. If the song is too extravagant and without a rhythmic pattern, people will find it too strange and will end up not liking them, there being no release of dopamine. However, if the prediction is successful, if we correctly anticipate the emotional peaks of the song, it is when the dopamine is released and the person enjoys the song. We like melodic structures, familiar sounds. If there is a slight but intriguing violation of familiarity, dopamine is also released, but there is a limit where the sound is so foreign and strange that the neurotransmitter is not secreted. It is a kind of balance between knowing what is going to happen but still be slightly surprised by the song. This is how we develop the taste for a song and how we enjoy music, a mix between that emotional release and anticipation.
The different sounds
Ed Large has studied how altering certain factors within sounds can affect the type of emotional impact of a song. Large exposed a group of subjects to two versions of a same song by Chopin while they were connected to an RMf, in the first version the song was presented without altering, as it is (with its dynamic variations). In the second version the song was altered, specifically had eliminated those dynamic variations and the song sounded mechanically. Ed Lange observed that the emotional response only appeared in the first group, disappearing the activation of pleasure centers upon hearing the second version. The subjects were not even able to recognize the two exhibitions as the same song.
A very interesting finding of the Lange experiment is that it found activation of the mirror neurons in the first version, the dynamics. Neurons were firing slower with slower and faster rhythms at faster rates. These neurons help us to internally experience what we observe externally and seem to play a very important role in how we experience music.