Why do we love music?
We all know how beneficial music can be. It can make us happy, calm us down or motivate us. Obviously, this is largely related to our tastes, to a certain education of the ear in relation to the cultural environment, to memories, experiences, but that's not all.
The physical effects
In fact, music has a real physical effect on the body. When we perceive it, its rhythm, tones, and even its words stimulate a number of receptors in our brain. When these brain regions are stimulated, effects occur in the body immediately. This is why music has the power to raise or lower blood pressure, influence heart rate, reduce stress, or even anxiety. It is these physical effects that contribute to the states that music can put us in.
Where do the sounds of music come from?
The sounds come from the vibrations of the air according to the movement of such or such objects. It is for this reason that in space there is no sound, because there is no air.
The air vibrations eventually reach our eardrum, which in turn begins to vibrate. The vibrations are then transformed into electrical signals that go directly to the brain. This is when our body starts to produce dopamine, if we like what we hear.
The pleasure of music
According to the sensations we feel, the body will produce various very precise molecules, which will all act in a different way on the brain. Among these molecules, we find the molecules of emotions. When we find ourselves in situations where the emotions we feel are particularly strong, it is often because these emotional molecules, such as oxytocin, adrenalin, serotonin or dopamine, arrive in the brain. Each of these molecules has a different influence on behavior.
For example, oxytocin is known to make people more sociable and friendly. Adrenaline, on the other hand, gives energy by boosting the heart rate during stressful moments. Dopamine comes after a moment of pleasure or euphoria, it is produced especially when listening to music.
It is thus this dopamine which will reward us with this feeling of pleasure, sometimes euphoric, following the listening of a music we appreciate.
Nevertheless, this molecule can, in certain cases, cause a certain degree of addiction. Indeed, the brain is ready to do anything to find this feeling of pleasure. Studies were conducted in the 1940s on rats. They had the possibility to press a switch that stimulated their dopamine level. It was quickly discovered that they were ready to do anything to press this famous switch, even to cross an electrified floor. The brain becomes addicted to these sources of dopamine that can be music. But what is particularly interesting about music is that it is impossible to overdose on it.