In a recent study on music’s effect on the human mind, non-musician volunteers listened to four symphonies composed by William Boyce while an fMRI tracked the activity within their brains. In each of the involved subjects, significant brain activity was discovered in the auditory cortex, movement, motor planning and attention regions.
To the surprise of researchers, dopamine was even found to have begun flowing into the subject’s brains during the peak emotional point in the symphonies they listened to. The effect on the brain, they said, is similar to the experience of engaging with certain drugs or even having sex.
According to the study’s results, music was also found to be a determining factor in the perception of others’ faces. For instance, when looking at what would otherwise be considered a “neutral” facial expression after hearing a sad song, the face was found to be considered more negative.
The study found that listening specifically to classical music could also provide increased visual attention in stroke victims with unilateral neglect. When tested alongside white noise and silence, it was discovered that such victims performed the worst when in complete silence.
Finally, the study conducted found that playing a musical instrument can actually increase one’s intelligence. Researchers believed that by being able to decode written music, one’s reading ability and visual pattern recognition would be increased in tandem.
Watch Life Noggin‘s full, animated rundown of the study below.