The Scientific Power of Music

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Whether its Mozart, Joni Mitchell, Adele or newcomers like Frank Ocean,
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music is powerful and has existed in all cultures throughout history.
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But why do humans find music so addictive and pleasurable?
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At its core, music is the combination of audio frequencies and intricate patterns
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floating through the air and clashing together in your ear.
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Much like your eyes process light, your ears process waves of sound
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and trigger a state of excitement and sometimes pleasure in your brain.
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Humans experience pleasure from many stimulants such as food, sex and drugs.
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But because many of these stimulants are necessary for human survival
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the body has created a system in which it rewards you for achieving them.
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What’s really happening is a release of a neurotransmitter in the brain called dopamine.
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Dopamine is a chemical responsible for making you feel good.
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When dopamine is released following a reward such as a delicious meal or winning the lottery,
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the neurotransmitter causes a feeling of pleasure and satisfaction.
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Drugs, such as cocaine, take advantage of this pathway by increasing the amount of dopamine,
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or rather, preventing its removal,
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causing continual stimulation of your neurons, which creates intense moments of pleasure.
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Music has the ability to create a state of arousal
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causing pupils to dilate
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blood pressure to rise,
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and the brain to fire in auditory, movement and emotional regions.
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And even though music does not have a direct survival benefit,
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this emotional reaction causes a release of the feel good chemical dopamine.
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Though the exact evolutionary reasoning is unclear,
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the amazing fact remains,
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music chemically alters our body and makes us feel great.
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And in the same way that a drug induced dopamine surge leaves you craving more,
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music becomes addictive.
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The dopamine tells your body it was rewarded
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and creates the desire to seek out more.
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Even though music enjoyment is entirely subjective and intertwined with cultural and personal experience
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The chemical effects remain consistent amongst the human race,
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a perfectly natural drug of happiness.
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Got a burning question you want answered?
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Ask it in the comments or on facebook and twitter.
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