Medical Mysteries of Music

Ongoing History Daily: Sounds that come from the left

When you go into a music venue—and it doesn’t matter what kind—on which side do you prefer to sit or stand? If you gravitate towards the left, you’re not alone.

Neuroscientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne have discovered a strange bias when it comes to pleasing sounds, especially voices we like. They did some brain scans on 13 people and found that positive human sounds like singing and laughter trigger stronger neural activity in the brain’s auditory systems when they come from the left.

Why? They’re not sure. It may have something to do with the left ear being more adept at identifying the emotional tone in someone’s voice. That might be a specialization of our left ears.

Whatever the case, it’s something you might want to pay attention to, just for fun. Learn more here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37843 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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