Scientific Understanding of Consciousness
Consciousness as an Emergent Property of Thalamocortical Activity

Music and the Brain -- Emotion and Movement


I'll state my hypothesis for how music reacts with the brain to cause us to enjoy music.

I believe that music interacts with the oscillation and synchronizations of the neural network signals in the brain to produce resonances in the neural signal loops.  The oscillations, synchronizations and resonances cause the FAPs action patterns of movement to become active resulting in movements such as foot tapping and dance movements.  The oscillations, synchronizations and resonances somehow excite the limbic system to release neurotransmitters such as dopamine which then interact with the nucleus accumbens and frontal cortex circuits such as the Papes circuit to produce a euphoria.

I am constantly on the lookout for reports of fMRI studies and other scientific investigations that would lend credence to these ideas.

 A most natural response of the human body to music is a synchronization of anatomical movements and other physiological/psychological functions with musical rhythms. (Daniel J. Schneck and Dorita S. Berger, The Music Effect, 120)

Auditory cues can capture one's attention.  Such attentativeness results in brain ways becoming synchronized with the binaural beat frequency.  This synchronized brain activity seems to establish a pleasing resonance that captures the entire range of human emotions. (Daniel J. Schneck and Dorita S. Berger, The Music Effect, 121)

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) researchers discovered that synchronous firing of neurons in the brain followed a subject’s making a deliberate effort to pay attention to a particular sensory stimulus, while ignoring all other distractions.  Cerebral neurons excited by specific attributes conspicuously synchronize their activity and the gamma (40-90 Hz) range of the EEG, indicating extremely strong brain activity.

Human Listeners prefer melodies having 1/f-spectra

Many auditory cortical neurons are tuned to the dynamical properties of the natural acoustic environment. (Gazzaniga; Human, 239)

Amplitude and pitch fluctuations of natural sounds such as running water, rain, and wind, often exhibit 1/f spectra. (Gazzaniga; Human, 238)

Human listeners reportedly preferred 1/f-spectra melodies to melodies with faster or slower changes in pitch and loudness. (Gazzaniga; Human, 239)

The amplitude of the EEG power spectrum increases as the frequency decreases.  This inverse relationship is expressed as the "one over f" power spectrum (also called "pink" noise). (Buzsáki - Rhythms of the Brain, 119)


Music can evoke Emotive States

Certain musical instruments, particularly in the human voice, and certain musical compositions, evoke emotive states that includes a host of skin responses such as making the hair stand on end, producing shutters, and blanching the skin. (Damasio; Looking for Spinoza, 102)

Neural correlates of pleasurable states caused by listening to music capable of evoking chills and shivers down the spine. (Damasio; Looking for Spinoza, 103)

Somatosensory regions of the insula and anterior cingulate which were significantly engaged by musically thrilling pieces. (Damasio; Looking for Spinoza, 103)



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