Happy Valentine’s Day week, I love that you share your valuable time with me and these newsletters! I just emailed to say I love you and to share interesting information on music and how they play a role in our emotions.
“If music be the food of love, play on!”
William Shakespeare knew that music pulls our emotions in different ways. Music can evoke a range of emotions from sad, nostalgic, and tense, to happy, relaxed, calm, and joyous. And now, science has validated that claim. Scientists concluded that listening to music releases a mood-enhancing chemical in our brain. When listening to music, our brain starts to anticipate what’s coming up and more often than not, this anticipation is rewarded. When we anticipate music our brain starts to release dopamine – the chemical involved in motivation and reward. This same process is linked to chills that some people feel when listening to a particular song. Dopamine is the same chemical that “increases in response to other stimuli such as food and money.” The study found that dopamine levels were 9% higher when volunteers were listening to music they enjoy. Dr. Vicky Williamson from Goldsmiths College, University of London, stated "this… shows that music is inextricably linked with our deepest reward systems." Listening to music also triggers other emotions as it activates the amygdala. The amygdala has three layers of neurons and is the center of much of the brain activity related to emotions. Physical reactions to specific types of music create a feedback loop and spreads strong emotions. An example is when happy music triggers the muscles in the jaw with increased electrical activity and an increase in breathing. Sad music stimulates the muscles surrounding the eyes. The brain takes in musical information and connects it to the many parts of our brain associated with emotions. So that means music definitely IS the food of love!