First, full disclosure. I have a Sonos system throughout my house and I can honestly say it continues to be one of the best music experiences ever. Until you use Sonos–and I was a complete skeptic beforehand–you have no idea how much something like this can enhance your home environment. I was shocked. In fact, I continue to be shocked at how cool this gear is and how much it has changed my behaviour around the house.
Which brings me to this study reported in Fast Company:
Music, to be more specific. And insofar as technology has made music easier to create, find, and listen to, the very same networks and gadgets that seem to drive us apart may actually wind up making us feel closer, both physically and emotionally. And yes, that includes sex.
That’s among the key findings from a study recently conducted by smart speaker manufacturer Sonos in partnership with Apple Music and neuroscientist Daniel Levitin—the guy who literally wrote the book on how music affects our brains. Through a research partner, Sonos polled 30,000 music listeners about the affects that music has on their lives. From there, the researchers did something that hasn’t really been done before: In 30 homes throughout the world, they conducted an experiment. For one week, the members of each household didn’t listen to any music out loud. The following week, they did. And the researchers rigged up each home with Sonos sound systems, Apple Watches, iBeacons, and Nest cams to observe what happened when the music started playing throughout the home. Families and housemates were free to put on whatever music they wanted whenever they wanted.
“The thing I’m most excited about is that the experiment is being done on this scale,” says Levitin, whose best-selling book This Is Your Brain On Musiccame out 10 years ago. “This is the kind of thing that it would be very difficult to do in a university setting or a research lab. This kind of work is very labor intensive.”
By observing people in their natural habitat—their homes—researchers were able to get a unique look into the impact that music has on their day-to-day behaviors. “Music historically has been a group experience,” Levitin points out. And one, he argues, that serves an evolutionary purpose.