Music and the Brain

How Does Your Brain React to Music?

When people listen to music, dopamine is released. Dopamine is a chemical that makes you happy when the brain experiences pleasures like food. states that “the response is so quick, the brain can even anticipate the most pleasurable peaks in familiar music and prime itself with an early dopamine rush.” Music can also be good for your health. says, “that listening to music is associated with upticks in immunity-boosting antibodies and cells that protect against bacteria and other invaders.”

If there’s one thing we like in music, it’s repetition. People’s love of repetition has to do with the “exposure effect.” says that “this premise holds that your brain experiences positive psychological effects when it encounters something it already knows, such as a repeated melody, beat, or chorus.” This effect even applies to songs that you don’t like; sometimes you can’t help but sing to a song you hate because it is so catchy.

Does Music Help With Homework and Studying?

When I am doing math homework or studying for a test, I prefer to listen to music; the silence makes it hard to concentrate. The question is, does music really help with homework? states that “background music may improve focus on a task by providing motivation and improving mood. During long study sessions, music can aid endurance.” When I listen to music while completing math or chemistry problems, I always tend to work faster.  Other people have the opposite study style; if any sound is playing in the room, they cannot concentrate. That means that whether or not music boosts learning, depends on the person. The type of music and task also depends. If you are reading a book for school or doing homework that requires a lot of comprehension skills, don’t listen to songs with words or rapid changes in volume or tempo. says that “the abstract reasoning task is more complex than the verbal reasoning task. Task complexity seems to play a moderating role when deciding whether to listen to music while studying.” It all depends on what you are doing and who you are.

No matter the genre, we can all agree that music is awesome.


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