Your Brain on Music

How is your summer playlist looking? According to researchers, a good list of tunes can be an important contributor to your sense of wellbeing.

In a recent NPR article, Rob Stein interviewed a team of neuroscientist at McGill University. They shared that music can evoke a sense of wonder and awe for humans by stimulating pleasure and reward centers in the brain, specifically the amygdala, ventral tegmental area and the nucleus accumbens which, in turn, produces dopamine and endogenous opioids. They share that “neurons in the brain even fire with the beat of the music, which helps people feel connected to one another by literally synchronizing their brain waves when they listen to the same song.”

As all of this happens, music can produce a calming effect, slowing our heart rate, deepening our breathing, and lowering stress hormones. This makes us feel more connected to other people as well as the world around us, especially when we start to dance together. It can even “counter the epidemic of our times, which is loneliness,” according to researcher Dacher Keltner.

So what are you listening to this summer? Need some inspiration? Below is one of Spotify’s recent top playlist. Turn it on, call over a friend, and sing along!