Although there doesn’t seem to be an evolutionary reason for us to have music, it seems as if our brains are wired for it anyway. And when we listen, some interesting things happen. Thi sis from Inverse.
Music has been a big part of our species’ development since, well, forever. There are certain parts of the brain that react specifically to music, not just sounds in general. There are regions in the auditory cortex, according to one MIT lab, that show intense activation when listening to music and have little to no activation when you hear, say, a phone ring or someone else’s voice. Our brains are built to listen to music.
Your favorite neuroscientist Shannon Odell joined up with Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart to explore exactly what music does to your brain. This past April, the American Museum of Natural History put on a special show in tandem with its “Our Senses” exhibit, which included Mickey’s trippy music, a whole lotta lasers, and a unique instrument called “The Beam.” Shannon hung out in the museum’s planetarium with Mickey and discussed her findings. Here are the highlights.