Why do we listen to music so much?



Music surrounds us, we hear it every day. Many argue about what can be classified as music, in my opinion music is whatever you want it to be and in extreme cases I would go as far as to say the silence can be classified as music. But can listen  silence? Or is there even such thing as silence? These are questions that constantly keep us scratching our heads.

People enjoy music the same way one enjoys sex, drugs, gambling and food. The reason why this is possible is because when a person listens to music the brain releases a drug called Dopamine. (get link for Dopamine). Dopamine is a chemical which is responsible for one's motivation or addiction to something. Furthermore, dopamine is said to be the biological explanation for why music plays such a major part in evoking emotions within oneself and cultures around the world.

"You're following these tunes and anticipating what's going to come next and whether it's going to confirm or surprise you, and all of these little cognitive nuances are what's giving you this amazing pleasure," said Valorie Salimpoor, a neuroscientist at McGill University in Montreal. "The reinforcement or reward happens almost entirely because of dopamine."

For me, a lot of times, I will listen to music because I am in a sad mood or need to pump myself up for a party or Soccer game. And sometimes I may even listen to a genre to suit the way I am feeling at that point in time and when I am feeling bored I'll put some music on as it expresses my emotions. I now because of the chemical Dopamine which is released.  


In addition, music affects people's emotions in different ways similar to that of a drug. Certain types of music evoke sadness or anger while other types induce feelings of wellbeing or happiness. This leads me to ask the question......... Can music make you high? Hmmmmm?

Well I did a "LOT" more research and found another study taken by Valorie Salimpoor at Nature Neuroscience institute.

Project leader Valorie Salimpoor found that samples of a variety of instrumental music produced feelings of euphoria and cravings, as measured through cerebral activity and that music showed characteristics similar to that of drug use. In that regard I would have to say music is a drug and that on a very mild level can give you a high. I think we are all addicted J.

Works Cited:

1.      Sohn, Emily. "Why Music Makes you happy?."news.discovery. Discovery News, 10 2011. Web. 26 Oct 2012. <http://news.discovery.com/human/music-

2.      Burling, Stacey. "Philly.com/Health." Yes, music can get you high. Science shows how. (Try it!) Read more: 


Have you ever heard the quote "When you are happy you enjoy the music, but when you are sad you understand the lyrics"? I think this ties in with your idea that music can impact your mood.

Speaking personally, whenever I am upset, I listen to soft music. The majority of the time it heightens my emotions and makes me even more upset. When I am sad and I listen to something that is more upbeat, I begin to sing along and this makes me feel a lot better.

It's definitely interesting to consider how music effects the brain. When we listen to a song we like, the part of our brain associated with pleasure and reward lights up. The idea of music making you high is also something I've never thought about. In that way, is it possible that music could be used to treat addictions in a way? If music could gradually substitute whatever it is the person is addicted to, helping them slowly wean themselves off their addictive substance.

I have always thought that I have had a connection to music through both my heritage and my emotions. I've realized that music means a lot more to me depending on my mood. If I'm sad songs with soft ballots tend to make me feel a connection but when I'm happy upbeat music tends to make me feel even more happy! It's so strange as to how we connect to music but no complaints here. I'm an avid music lover. Why do you think some people hate music and others love it? Do you think it has to do with how one perceives music or do you think it has to do with one's cerebral response?

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