Medical Mysteries of MusicOngoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: This is your brain on music.

What happens to that squishy stuff in your skull when you hear a great song? Scientists are very interested in how the brain functions when it’s stimulated by music. 

They know that pleasurable music causes the brain to secrete dopamine, the body’s feel-good hormone. When the hormone hits the bloodstream, the body’s reaction is “This is good! Give me more.” It’s exactly the same neurological reaction to a bump of cocaine and an orgasm. There’s no chemical difference between the three.

When music fans were put into an MRI machine and had their brains mapped as they listened to songs they liked, certain signatures of activity always popped up in areas linked to memory and social activity. And it didn’t matter if the subjects were listening to metal or Beethoven.

The brain likes what it likes.

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 38452 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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