Why Humans Love Music
One of the best-known theories about why humans love music is the “mate-call theory,” which proposes that music acts as a type of mating call. While this theory has some merit, it’s flawed because humans never learned to play or sing lullabies for mating purposes. Even Steven Pinker, the Nobel Prize-winning psychologist, believed that music conferred no evolutionary advantage. He compared it to an auditory cheesecake. Since then, this view has been debunked.
The first theory explains the connection between musical pleasure and the brain’s reward circuits. But other theories suggest that music affects the human brain in ways that aren’t necessarily beneficial to the body. For example, the connection between musical pleasure and the reward circuitry in the brain has been discovered in numerous animal studies. While these studies are largely correlational, they have a clear causal relationship. In the case of this new study, researchers employed non-invasive neurostimulation to determine which part of the brain is responsible for pleasure.
The brain’s reward center is controlled by dopamine. It’s released whenever a person feels happy or relaxed, whether through food or sex. Dopamine can also cause a person to become addicted to music. This is why the brain responds to music in such a way that it can lead to addiction. In addition to being a therapist, Dr. Gasser’s book teaches readers how to be engaged listeners and enhance their musical preferences.