Why Humans Love Music

We love music, but why? The answer lies in the brain. A recent study conducted by McGill University suggests that our brains release chemicals responsible for our pleasure centers when we hear music. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter released when a person experiences pleasure – during sex, eating, or engaging in powerful activities like taking drugs. It is possible to feel addicted to music – but the answer isn’t quite as simple.

Before the invention of the Walkman, music was seen as a social experience. People sing hymns to affirm their faith or love their nation. In some cultures, outsider genres bring people together. In other cultures, music is the only way for social outcasts to connect with the majority of the population. However, the basic principle is the same: music binds us. The brain is made up of many different regions, and each of these regions interacts with different reward centers.

Scientists are still uncertain about the origin of music, but a study published by British biologist Robert Watson suggests that the earliest known forms of music were created by human beings. The brains of humans have evolved to associate musical sounds with different emotions. While our taste for music is influenced by the musical sounds we have heard throughout our lives, our preferences are different for different genres. Pop songs, for instance, have predictable melodies and rhythms, while jazz tends to be more complicated. However, as time goes on, we tend to tire of pop music faster than we do jazz.