Study shows different brains have similar responses to music
Published Online by Stanford School of Medicine on April 11, 2013
By Bruce Goldman
Do the brains of different people listening to the same piece of music actually respond in the same way? An imaging study by Stanford University School of Medicine scientists says the answer is yes, which may in part explain why music plays such a big role in our social existence.
The investigators used functional magnetic resonance imaging to identify a distributed network of several brain structures whose activity levels waxed and waned in a strikingly similar pattern among study participants as they listened to classical music they'd never heard before. The results was published online April 11 in the European Journal of Neuroscience.
"We spend a lot of time listening to music — often in groups, and often in conjunction with synchronized movement and dance," said Vinod Menon, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and the study's senior author. "Here, we've shown for the first time that despite our individual differences in musical experiences and preferences, classical music elicits a highly consistent pattern of activity across individuals in several brain structures including those involved in movement planning, memory and attention."