Why Humans Love Music
Researchers have been asking themselves why human beings love music. While Charles Darwin believed that music evolved out of a courtship ritual, more recent research has focused on how music builds community bonds. For example, military marches and fight songs during football games create an emotional response. Researchers have discovered that our desire to belong is a key component of our emotional response to music. To better understand why we love music, we should understand how music affects our brains.
Before the Walkman, music was defined as a social experience. People sing hymns to demonstrate their commitment to church, and they listen to national anthems to show their love for their country. Outcasts find community through music genres outside of mainstream society. This shared experience makes music a universal language. It is one of the many reasons humans love music. Music triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, the pleasure hormone.
The brain regions involved in pleasure and pain responses are linked to music preference. In addition, music engages the reward system in our brains. Dopamine is released when music is intensely pleasurable. Physiologically, this chemical release triggers an emotional response, leading to increased feelings of well-being. Interestingly, these same brain regions are involved in addiction. The authors of this study suggest that music may have a physiological basis for these responses.