Science knows why we love going to concerts so much

Science knows why we love going to concerts so much

Music lovers who regularly attend concerts or festivals often say that “live” music is clearly superior to recorded music. Researchers from the University of Zurich looked into this question to determine whether it is, above all, a question of personal feelings. But everything suggests that this is not the case.

Sascha Frühholz and his colleagues argue in a study, published in the journal PNAS, that music lovers tend to feel more transported by “live” music because it triggers increased activity in the part of the brain linked to emotion processing. .

The researchers came to this conclusion after carrying out an experiment involving around thirty volunteers, who had never received musical training. They asked them to listen carefully to twelve short pieces of music that had been specially designed to arouse specific emotions in them, some positive and others negative. Participants listened to each of these compositions twice: once through a loudspeaker while a musician performed them on the piano, and the other time through headphones in the form of a classic audio recording.

Throughout the listening, the volunteers lay in an MRI scanner so the research team could monitor their brain activity. The pianist who performed the pieces live received instructions from the scientists to adapt his way of playing according to the brain activity of the participants. Thus, if one of them reacted little to so-called “positive” music, the pianist was asked to play his instrument with more vigor.

The imaging revealed increased brain activity in the left amygdala of the volunteers when they listened to the live recording of the different songs, whether “positive” or “negative”. The left amygdala is a region of the brain involved in emotional regulation. It attributes emotions to sensory stimuli, such as sounds.

The researchers found, conversely, that the sound recordings did not cause a peak of activity in the left amygdala, which suggests that “‘live’ music stimulates the emotional brain of listeners in a more louder and more coherent than recorded music.

Sascha Frühholz and his colleagues believe that the evocative power of “live” music lies in the fact that it is more dynamic and fluid than recorded music. Musicians tend to adapt to their audience when performing live, in order to get the best emotional response possible. The researchers would like to conduct a similar experiment during a real concert, in order to verify the conclusions of their study with a large audience.

The benefits of music on our brain

Slide: The benefits of music on our brain