Sync With Others to Feel Closer

Music automatically moves us. Even if you are sitting absolutely still, your motor cortex is still active when you listen to music. This special link between movement and sound is thought to have been around since music began. It has been proposed that through its capacity to synchronize movements of individuals, music made it possible for us to cooperate more efficiently and thereby survive as a species. Music can therefore be thought of as an inherently social phenomenon, and as something that exists to move us in synchrony, in order to help us bond.

Music Can Help You Enjoy Exercise

Despite awareness of its importance for overall wellbeing, some people honestly dislike exercise. Recently, scientists investigated whether music as well as music videos could be used to alter people’s emotional responses during exercise, perhaps making that dreaded treadmill workout feel slightly less terrible. The question is intriguing: could you actually trick your brain into liking exercise with the help of music?

Music Offers Solace in Sadness

As we wrote in an earlier post, if scent has a hotline to memory, music has a hotline to emotions. Owing to this power that music has on influencing our emotions, music is routinely used to alter people’s feelings (something called musical mood induction) in scientific experiments that wish to look at the effects of different feelings on, for example, behavior. This tight link between music and emotion, and emotion and cognition in general, may in part even account for the effects on performance that people experience after listening to music, such as improved focus, or even better sports performance.


Why Do Some People Like Music More Than Others?

Taste in music, music listening habits, and the general significance of music in their daily lives differ can differ widely from person to person. Listening preferences are probably the sum of many variables, developing and changing throughout life. Unraveling the different factors that influence preferences is of great interest to the music industry – if you could reliably predict who likes what and why, you could provide more music they like, at the times they want to hear it! Understanding the sources of individual differences related to musical enjoyment more deeply would also help design more effective therapeutic procedures involving music.

The Many Ways Music Supports Memory in Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s currently affects an estimated 46.8 million people worldwide. As the population ages, this number is estimated to double every 20 years. There is considerable interest in finding easy access ways to treat symptoms, and for maintaining the quality of life of affected individuals. Listening to music may be one way of addressing cognitive difficulties associated with Alzheimer’s, especially problems with memory.

Music for Pain Management

Management of pain is a major goal in the treatment of many conditions. Alongside traditional options for pain alleviation, music therapy shows promise as a powerful, non-pharmacological intervention. In addition to active therapy conducted by trained professionals, the possibilities of mere music listening in pain alleviation are intriguing. Could such a seemingly simple, everyday activity actually produce observable improvements in pain?

Music as Part of Our Everyday Lives

Technological advancement is transforming our lives. In terms of music, digitization has diversified the ways individuals control and regulate their music listening. We can select exactly the music we want from streaming services offering a massive variety of choices, we can take music with us wherever we go, and listen to it as and when we wish. But what is our current scientific understanding of this massive increase in the availability of music, and its effects on our listening habits?