Why we are all accidental musicians

Why we are all accidental musicians – life – 15 October 2013 – New Scientist

  • Music makes us smarter because it lets us practise living with uncertainty, argues Jay Schulkin in Reflections on the Musical Mind

  • A few minutes of listening to music allows us to exercise the gamut of our mental machinery, none of which evolved for music itself,

  • Take dopamine. When we expect to hear music, and also while hearing it, this neurotransmitter is released in regions of the brain critically involved in the organisation of action: increased dopamine boosts our ability to attend to important matters and disregard trivia. As such, by affecting the flow of dopamine, music prepares us for intelligent action in the world.

  • Listening to music releases oxytocin.

  • He highlights the fundamentally social context for the evolution and role of music, the deep connections between music, memory and movement, and the plasticity of the brain in response to music. And he reminds us about the extraordinariness of the manner in which we arrive in the world ready to sing, play and appreciate music.
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