Have you ever wondered why you remember your favorite song more than your favorite book? You know, that one song that’s always playing in your head?
Well, it turns out that when our brains listen to music they produce dopamine – that feel good chemical we all love and crave.
Even as we get older and slowly lose our motor skills and memory, we still recognize our favorite tune the minute we hear it. This is because listening to music pretty much uses almost every aspect of our brain – from the hippocampus to the nervous system, as well as our auditory cortex, among many, many more. Think of it like this – if every part of your brain was hooked up to wires, they would light up an electrical storm the minute you started listening to a song you like. Pretty cool, huh?
What’s even more mesmerizing, though, is that people with severe brain damage can still enjoy listening to music just as much as anyone else. For instance, I met an elderly lady who had such severe dementia that when she talked her words came out all muffled and jumbled. But when she heard one of her favorite Motown songs she immediately started dancing and singing to the song in perfect enunciation. It was mind blowing, to say the least.
Music is pretty powerful, to say the least. Listening to certain kinds of music can even reduce anxiety, improve your mood and lower your blood pressure, among many other things.
Studies have shown that people who play an instrument activated more neuron communication throughout both the right and left sides of the brain, aiding in learning new skills, motor skills, verbal and non-verbal reasoning and even a better memory!
So, the next time you hear that song playing in your head, remember to relish the moment as your brain is most likely in seventh heaven, since it is now able to use every single tool it has up there.
Good times, indeed.