Network science and the effects of music on the human brain

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Robin W. Wilkins (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Donald Hodges

Abstract: Most people choose to listen to music that they prefer or like such as classical, country or rock. Previous research has focused on how different characteristics of music (i.e., classical versus country) affect the brain. Yet, when listening to preferred music regardless of the type--people report they often experience personal thoughts and memories. To date, understanding how this occurs in the brain has remained elusive. Using network science methods, I evaluated differences in functional brain connectivity when individuals listened to complete songs. Here the results reveal that a circuit important for internally focused thoughts, known as the default mode network, was most connected when listening to preferred music. The results also reveal that listening to a favorite song alters the connectivity between auditory brain areas and the hippocampus, a region responsible for memory and social emotion consolidation. Given that musical preferences are uniquely individualized phenomena and that music can vary in acoustic complexity and the presence or absence of lyrics, the consistency of these results was contrary to previous neuroscientific understanding. These findings may explain why comparable emotional and mental states can be experienced by people listening to music that differs as widely as Beethoven and Eminem. The neurobiological and neurorehabilitation implications of these results are discussed.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
Brain, Complex systems, Emotion, Memory, Music, Network neuroscience
Music $x Physiological aspects
Music $x Psychological aspects
Memory $x Physiological aspects
Neural networks (Neurobiology)

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