We all love music. Sometimes all it takes is one song to completely alter our mood and prepare us for the day ahead. But how does it actually do that? What happens when our brains hear the music?

Recent scientific studies reveal how music can benefit your brain and what exactly happens in different brain areas when you listen to music.

Music is sort of an ultimate exercise for your brain since it activates every known part, especially the visual, auditory and motor cortices. Researchers have realised that when we hear and attempt to play music, our brains process sounds that they couldn’t otherwise hear.

This helps us develop a neurophysiological distinction between certain sounds. Actively engaging with music vastly improves the strength of neural processing, also helping our language skills.[1]

Breaking music down into two very vague categories; we have happy music and sad music and our brain reacts differently to each. One study [2] showed that participants were more likely to recognise facial expressions matching the mood of the piece of music they had just listened to.

One particular study claimed that music tastes can determine a person’s personality. The study looked at couples who spent a certain amount of time speaking and getting to know one another. Through looking at each other’s top ten favourite songs, they were able to provide fairly accurate predictions as to some of the listener’s personality traits.

Music preferences are able to determine personality, such as an extrovert may enjoy vocals and an intellectual may enjoy jazz music. The participants of this study were all around the 18-year-old age mark so this statement may not reign true for other age groups, but it’s still fascinating to learn about.

So, music can have huge benefits on our brains, from improving our facial expression recognition to improving our language skills, it really is a full-body workout for your brain. So slip on those headphones, get your favourite tunes playing and let your brain do its thing.

Here is an interesting image showing what exactly happens in each area of our brain when we listen to music:

music on the mind


  1. https://www.sciencedaily.com
  2. http://www.sciencedirect.com

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