…though they’re still ironing our the true details of why.
I’ve often wondered why our brain interacts the way it does with music (something God uses to His–and our–benefit; e.g., Deut. 31:19) and have given Bible studies on the topic. The relationship between music and the mind has intrigued scientists, as well, for some time.
Well, new research has demonstrated that music can cause physical reactions in our brain similar to the pleasure derived from eating a good meal or even taking cocaine.
Here’s an article about the study from back in January (as usual, I’m late to the party): “Favourite music evokes same feelings as good food or drugs” (guardian.co.uk, Sunday 9 January 2011). I think the title is a little misleading, because–as best I can tell–the study wasn’t about favorite music, though I could be wrong. Subjects did, however, select music that had no lyrics and wasn’t tied to special events, memories, movies, etc., so that the result was music that was enjoyed simply as music and not because it was associated with other things.
In particular, I find it fascinating that Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings is mentioned as the most popular single piece of music in the study and that a techno-pop remix of the adagio was the most popular in the dance, trance, and techno category, as well.
I will admit that I love Barber’s Adagio as well, and I have seen it mentioned before in another science article about the connection between the brain and music, although I can’t recall which article that was — something about certain compositions that fit a particularly logical structure. I find the piece very moving, though no single piece of music has ever moved me as much as the first time I listened to the Pas de Deux from the Nutcracker, sitting at my desk at my dorm room at Texas A & M. I’ve always wondered why that piece of music hit me in such a manner, but the effect was real and just a little unnerving.
Anyway, consider reading the short piece in the Guardian website website if you are interested (original study here). And, a tip of the hat to the “B Good Science Blog” that first alerted me to the study.