Last Updated on November 9, 2022 by Dayanand Kadella
Music impacts our brains, and it can help us to focus. It is considered as a feed for our souls. Our lives would not be complete without music. We blast it from the rooftops while carrying it around in our pockets. It provides the background music for our first kisses, marriages, and funerals, and also for small and big events.
But it has a more profound impact than you may think, improving our IQ scores, reducing stress and sadness, fostering social bonds, and many more.
Does music impact OUR BRAIN, and how we feel during or after listening to our favorite music?
Your body has a built-in “pharmacy” that can dispense a variety of chemicals to help you react to various circumstances, such as calming you down when you need to sleep or raising your alertness when you’re in danger.
The right chemicals will be given out at the right moments if your pharmacy system is operating effectively. Your internal pharmacy will administer an injection of adrenaline and a dosage of cortisol, for instance, if a dog starts chasing you.
By boosting the blood flow to your heart and lungs, sending more blood to your muscles, and releasing more glucose into your system, adrenaline will prepare you for a run or a battle.
Your blood sugar levels will rise and more energy will be directed to your arms and legs as a result of the cortisol responses, which will intensify the effects of the adrenaline. These effects are beneficial during brief “fight-or-flight” situations, but they are bad for you over the long term.
Because your inner pharmacist continually releases adrenaline and cortisol, even in non-threatening situations, if you live a busy, stressful life you may experience depression or physical exhaustion.
Music is able to aid with this. It has been demonstrated that relaxing music lowers blood levels of cortisol and adrenaline, which lessens stress. Even crying newborns exhibit this, according to University of Toronto researchers.
Additionally, the enjoyment of music signals the body’s internal chemist to begin releasing dopamine and serotonin, which will lift your spirits and help you overcome stress and despair.
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How else can music help us?
Insomnia has also been demonstrated to be treated by music. In a Budapest research conducted on young adults with insomnia in 2007, more than 80% of the subjects improved their sleep quality following three weeks of listening to classical music before bed.
In a related study including Taiwanese insomniacs older than 60, half of the subjects improved their sleep quality after a few weeks. Adults typically require between 10 and 35 minutes to fall asleep. Make your own music if you have problems falling asleep. Getting an adequate amount of sleep can aid your life.
Make sure the final track fades away gradually; otherwise, the startling silence at the end will wake you up. Pick around 45 minutes of peaceful, relaxing music that you love to listen, to and feel relaxed. If things suddenly get silent, one of our survival instincts is to wake up.
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How does music affect our feelings?
The film provides blatant illustrations of how music may affect our emotions. The soundtrack might give us a hint that something frightful or joyful is going to happen even if the activity on the screen is emotionally neutral (a woman strolling down the street).
A sudden loud noise (or musical note) is particularly powerful in inducing your fight-or-flight reaction, which will flood your body with adrenaline and cortisol and make you jump with panic.
Due to the fact that we have evolved to link any unexpected noise, even music, with a potential threat, your brain automatically concludes that you are in danger. This is why the shower scene soundtrack from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is so spooky: “eee! eee! eee!”
The goal of a film’s soundtrack is to evoke strong feelings in you without becoming overbearing. The use of improper music before a scene’s emotional high point is a powerful technique for enhancing the emotional impact of a visual event.
If the search sequence was accompanied by ominous, ominous music, we would feel much greater relief when the father discovered his daughter safe and sound.
Similarly, if, after a search accompanied by upbeat music, we are shown a bloodied body and a loud, agonized chord, we are much more shocked.
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Does playing music while working out help?
Yes, research conducted in gyms has shown that music stimulates individuals to speed up to keep up with the beat of the music, and the enjoyment of listening pushes them to use the equipment longer.
Additionally, music reduces boredom and aids in diverting a runner’s mind from any discomfort or suffering. In fact, the impact is so severe that it is against the rules of the USA Track and Field competition for runners to use portable listening devices when there are honors or prizes at stake.
Of course, if you’re jogging near busy roadways, it’s never a smart idea to use headphones.
Consider playing music while you work.
Many people, from contact center managers to students attempting to finish an essay, are interested in the potential relationship between music and focus.
These studies have demonstrated that music may be beneficial when the alternative sound is distracting noise. In a busy café, listening to music through headphones will keep you focused as you finish that report.
On the other side, the music itself will be a distraction if you’re working in a calm setting.
The processing of the music will take up some of your mental capacity, leaving you with less ability for the task at hand. Lyric-driven music is very disruptive.
When you’re carrying out a straightforward chore, like ironing or doing the dishes, the scenario is a bit different.
In this instance, you will have plenty of mental resources at your disposal, and the music will likely enhance your performance on the work at hand by keeping you upbeat and preventing boredom.
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Can music truly change how we act?
Yes. Consider the music that is frequently played in restaurants and retail spaces. This can have an unexpectedly strong impact on how we act.
In the 1980s, US marketing professor Ronald Milliman made the surprising discovery that listening to calm, soothing music in a restaurant actually causes you to eat more slowly and spend more on beverages.
You tend to browse and purchase more if the music is peaceful and comfortable, which has an impact on how quickly you go through a store or supermarket.
Unexpectedly, the music you choose for the backdrop might even affect the things you purchase. In one experiment, conducted by psychologists at the University of Leicester in 1999, the background music was altered next to a shop display of German and French wines.
If characteristic German music was played, the German wine sold twice as quickly. However, French wine was five times more popular than German wine while French accordion music was being played.
Other research in this area has shown that the correct choice of background music can increase the income of a shop or restaurant by 10 percent – a surprisingly large effect for something that many of us barely notice. Another indication of the power of background music is something known as the ‘Manilow method’.
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In 2006, Sydney’s city council was trying to work out how to disperse the groups of teenagers who were hanging out in the shopping malls.
The simple request to “move on” was ineffective, but someone ultimately came up with the brilliant idea to play the music that would be shamefully uncool to the adolescents. Barry Manilow comes to the aid!
The adolescents had left to find a cooler place to hang out by the time a few of his Greatest Hits had started playing over the PA system.
Why did music first change throughout time?
Since music is old and prevalent in all communities, it is likely connected to the continued existence of our species.
A more cohesive social group may be formed by group singing, as any football supporter would attest.
In primitive times, communities that sang together would guard each other more tenaciously from adversaries or predators. This bonding effect is a strong candidate for the reason why music exists.
Music has also been shown to facilitate the release of the oxytocin hormone.
This hormone, which is also released during nursing and sexual activity, could have a strong tying-together effect.
Where is music employed in the most improbable circumstances?
Forget taking paracetamol; music has also been used in an unexpected way to relieve pain. In one experiment, participants are instructed to keep their hands in ice-cold water for as long as possible in order to gauge how they react to pain.
According to psychologists Laura Mitchell and Raymond MacDonald, listening to music make it easier for individuals to endure discomfort for longer periods of time. This effect is amplified if the listeners themselves select the music.
The individuals felt more in control after making this decision, which enabled them to endure discomfort for longer. It has also been demonstrated that the idea of pain reduction via empowerment lessens discomfort during dental treatment.
If the patients selected the music, especially if they were given a portable volume controller, they had less discomfort. It’s interesting to note that the best outcomes occurred when the patient was directly informed that having control over the music would lessen their discomfort.
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Can we get smarter through music?
The so-called “Mozart effect” was first described in a study written by American psychologist Dr. Frances Rauscher and her colleagues in 1993. In this study, participants took an IQ exam on spatial thinking after either listening to relaxation instructions, playing a Mozart piano piece, or sitting in silence for ten minutes.
The study’s findings revealed that individuals who focused on the piano piece performed considerably better than the other two groups.
The suggestion that Mozart’s music increases intelligence was widely reported in the media, and soon the music business began producing Mozart CDs intended to raise everyone’s IQ, from infants to retirees.
The Mozart effect did really exist, but it had nothing to do with Mozart. Psychologists started looking into whether it truly existed, and by 2010, they had come to that conclusion.
Numerous scientists have demonstrated that merely listening to any upbeat music you like will increase your IQ score, including Prof. E Glenn Schellenberg and his group at the University of Toronto (Schubert and Blur worked just as well as Mozart).
You may even get the same effect by reading a Stephen King short tale. Norepinephrine, an alertness-enhancing neurotransmitter, is increased in your brain as a result of the impact.
Additionally, listening to pleasurable music increases dopamine levels, which contributes to a buoyant and assured attitude. As a result, the next time you have a test coming up, try listening to 10 minutes of your favorite happy music before you enter the room. However, don’t forget to wear your lucky socks just in case.
This article was initially published in BBC Focus Magazine number 297.
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