Music affects the mind as much as the body, and science says so!

Music affects the mind as much as the body, and science says so!

It’s an impulse that is sometimes almost irresistible. Music encourages us to move. But our body does not react in the same way depending on the songs we listen to. A Japanese study lifts the veil on this mystery and tells us that certain sequences of notes provoke specific bodily sensations.

The co-signatories of this research, published in the journal iScience, arrived at this surprising conclusion after conducting an experiment with 527 volunteers. The latter were invited to listen to eight melodies, composed of four chords each, and to indicate the areas of their body which seemed to respond the most to the recordings.

It appeared that the melodies affected them differently depending on the chord progressions. Thus, when the four agreements followed one another with little surprise and little uncertainty, the participants said they felt sensations in the abdomen. They also reported being overcome by feelings of relief, calm, contentment, nostalgia, and empathy for others.

The heart was more stimulated when the volunteers listened to a melody whose first three notes followed one another smoothly, while the last was much more unpredictable and surprising. Here again, this sequence of chords aroused positive emotions, associated with a notion of intense pleasure.

Conversely, the very surprising and uncertain chord sequences were felt more at head level. They were strongly associated with feelings of anxiety and mental confusion

For Tatsuya Daikoku, lead author of the study, these results underline the crucial role of our interoceptive sense, that is to say the ability to perceive the state of our body, in our appreciation of music. “Music is not just something we listen to with our ears; it is an experience that one feels throughout the body. I think that bodily sensation is what really defines the music“, he explains in a press release.

This study shows to what extent the fourth art exercises an astonishing power over each of us. It speaks not only to our body but also to our brain. It is therefore not surprising that music listening shares certain characteristics with addictions. With music, you always want more and that’s not a bad thing.

The benefits of music on our brain

Slide: The benefits of music on our brain