Listening to music triggers happiness, as much as sex or eating chocolate


When on tour in the brain, music makes several stops. After passing through the ear, where high and low sounds are separated to travel through different cables, it reaches the thalamus, a structure located in the center of the organ that retransmits the signal to the auditory cortex: primary, secondary and tertiary.

The primary auditory cortex identifies frequency and intensity (note and loudness); the secondary analyzes the information about the melody (linear succession of notes); harmony (relationship between two or more notes sounding at the same time) and rhythm (pattern of accented notes and weak notes); and the tertiary is in charge of integrating said information.

After that triple concert, the music continues its tour in other brain scenarios: regions associated with emotions, areas responsible for interpreting language and pleasure centers.

emotions and music

Music triggers happiness as much as making love or eating your favorite chocolate, because it stimulates the centers or brain circuits of pleasure that are activated during eating and sex.

However, according to Hugo Sánchez Castillo, a researcher at the Faculty of Psychology at UNAM, something curious happens: we remember music that we consider sad more than music that we consider happy. Why?

Perhaps it is not so much that today we want to savor our pain as that we identify with a situation evoked or recounted in the piece of music: “We can identify ourselves depending on whether we have experienced what is narrated in the song or not,” explained the university researcher.

In a certain way, we get feedback: yes, the piece we want to hear so much listens to us and, what’s more, responds to us. Or at least that is the feeling it leaves us.

Of course, there are also people who, when they are sad, listen to happy music; thus they manage to stop paying attention to the problem for a moment.

Basically it is about looking for alternatives that allow us to improve our mood.

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