Scientists have been stumped when it comes to providing a scientific reason as to why do human beings opt for listening to music. People have almost always sought out rhythmic patterns whether as a form of expression, celebration, religious purposes, or for fun.
In fact, most of us have been a part of some garage band while growing up. A team of researchers from The City College of New York and the University of Arkansas have spent some time looking into how music affects our brains. It makes sense because music has become a fundamental part of our society and we interact with it almost on a daily basis.
The research is being led by Jens Madsen and Lucas Parra from CCNY’s Grove School of Engineering. The research team is aiming for breakdown and measuring of the neural responses in a large audience to the music that is being played. They found something interesting; when a group of people is enjoying the same kind of music, their neural responses get synced with other listeners.
You have also witnessed this amazing phenomenon when you are at a concert with other fans or at a house party with your friends listening to your favorite artist’s album. The study has been published in Scientific Reports and also sheds some light on the correlation that exists between the audience’s engagement and the song’s repetitiveness. According to the research team, when the repetition in the music is increased, the engagement from the audience decreases. However, this is true for only familiar pieces. On the other hand, new or unfamiliar music is able to sustain the audience’s interest for a longer span of time. The study says, ‘Across repeated exposures to instrumental music, inter-subject correlation decreased for music written in a familiar style.’
Researchers can understand the effects of music in a better way by measuring brainwaves of listeners and how they respond to music. Eventually, this will lead to understanding why music is so important to human beings.