Itís no coincidence that the easiest way for kids to learn their A-B-Cs is by singing. According to McGill University psychologist Dr. Daniel Levitin, our brains are wired to respond to music.
- First: Weíre born with an aptitude for music. A Cornell University study found that 6-month-old babies are able to detect subtle changes in musical rhythms just as well as adults can. And other research shows that we start remembering and recognizing songs when weíre 8 months old.
- Next: Music is just as addicting as chocolate. Neurologist Dr. Robert Zatorre says that music stimulates the same part of the brain that chocolate does, and hearing music we like releases the feel-good chemical, dopamine. In fact, we donít just feel better when we listen to our favorite song. We actually get an extra jolt of dopamine when we anticipate hearing it.
- The 3rd way music influences us: It promotes teamwork. Researchers found that people who heard the same beat before completing a group task performed better. Thatís compared to people who listened to different songs, because hearing different songs puts everyone on different wavelengths.
- And finally: No discussion about music and your brain would be complete without talking about why songs get stuck in your head. The reason? Our unconscious minds respond so strongly to melodies and rhythms that occasionally it gets caught in a loop, and our brain simply keeps repeating it, trying to replay the whole thing, but usually only succeeding in repeating the catchiest bits and pieces. Whatís the fix? You have two options: Patiently wait for your brain to end the cycle Ė which could take hours Ė or even days. Or listen to other music, and hope that a new tune replaces the old one.