Why Humans Love Music
Music has always fascinated people and scholars alike. Before the Walkman, people would sing hymns to express their commitment to their church or to their country, and they would hum or humourously chant national anthems to show their love of their country. Nowadays, research has focused on how music can strengthen community bonds. Many military marches and fight songs at football games are performed to bring people together. This connection between music and our need to belong has long been the subject of debate.
Music can make people feel good because it triggers a release of the chemical dopamine, which is responsible for our pleasure centers. Dopamine releases when we experience pleasure, which may explain why music can become an addictive substance. Dopamine can also be addictive, as it can drive behavior. It is no wonder that music is so beloved in human society. But what exactly is the reason why humans are so captivated by it?
Scientists from McGill University conducted a study in which they tested participants’ brains using functional magnetic resonance imaging. The researchers showed that the two types of music evoke similar responses in participants. While one type of music is stimulating the brain’s limbic system, another type evokes a feeling of empathy. This effect was found to be much stronger in participants who were more empathic and more sympathetic. This finding has implications for music therapy and how we respond to music.