Music's Effect on the Brain

By Clarke Prophete
Music is a truly universal way to relax.
Music is one of the most enjoyable forms of entertainment. The chemicals that our brains release when listening to music are similar to the chemicals released when you’re happy or excited. I want to help you understand the effects that music has on your brain.

So, what actually happens when you listen to music you like? Ashford University says, “One of the first things that happens when music enters our brains is the triggering of pleasure centers that release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy. This response is so quick, the brain can even anticipate the most pleasurable peaks in familiar music and prime itself with an early dopamine rush.”

The pleasure center lets us know when something is enjoyable and reinforces the desire for us to perform the same pleasurable action again. It impacts parts of the brain such as the amygdala, which regulates emotions. Other parts of the brain it affects are the nucleus accumbens (release of dopamine), the ventral tegmental area (VTA), (releases the dopamine), the cerebellum,(controls muscle function), and the pituitary gland, (releases beta-endorphins).

“Music was shown to lower anxiety more than medications in one study. Brain activation patterns are related to how much people like particular songs. Consistent activity patterns are seen when different people listen to the same music”, says Elizabeth Landau, CNN.

Music influences children of all ages, genders, opinions, etc. Some may argue that it’s one of the only things that bonds countries together. Genre of music doesn’t matter because music benefits everyone in terms of both entertainment and mental health.

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