Written by Sunny

Published: 26 Jun 2024

How Different Music Genres Affect the Brain

Music and the brain interact very interestingly, which makes the topic of neuroscience very interesting. It can make people happy or sad, help increase work efficiency, and improve brain structures. Different types of music lead to different psychological and physiological changes within the brain, which are associated with specific genres of music. Research has revealed that music leads to the activation of the various parts of the brain that are known to be in charge of functions like emotions, memories, and movements. Thus, knowing how various genres influence the brain can help discover ways music can benefit psychological and emotional health.

Table of Contents

The Emotional Impact of Classical Music

Music has always been a trigger for change, an emotional tuning fork, and a way of abstracting from reality. For people, this is something like neural connections that allow transmitting information and emotions. Favorite motives can lift people’s spirits, motivate them to take the first step toward their dreams or make a compromise with someone.

The specific organization of the music and melodies in the classical genre, particularly from composers such as Mozart and Beethoven, is well-organized and balanced. It stimulates the brain’s reward center and releases dopamine, the feel-good hormone. Also, classical music has been known to positively affect memory and spatial-temporal reasoning, making it very useful in improving the human mind and soul in the emotional and cognitive aspects.

For example, Rauscher et al. (1993) experimented at the University of California, where participants who listened to Mozart’s music scored higher on spatial and temporal IQ than those who listened to other music or did not listen to anything at all. This discovery is famously known in research as the “Mozart Effect.”

Pop Music

Pop music exerts a strong impact on mood and motivation. It is lively and rhythmic, helping stimulate dopamine production, which makes people happy and energized. Popular songs are associated with real-life situations, hence eliciting feelings that can help uplift the mood and offer consolation. In a study involving the Psychology of Music, Clark et al. (2015) noted that listening to pop music can enhance mood and motivation, especially when performing physically demanding activities or boring chores.

This genre boosts performance and productivity in activities that entail endurance and repetitive effort, thus making it suitable for many tasks. Also, listening to pop music motivates students to find solutions to hopeless situations. What if the due date is tomorrow, and you have many assignments left? Finding a reliable paper writing service is the solution to the problem, at least short term. Music will play the role of a trigger in this performance.

Rock and Metal

Rock and metal music containing harsh sounds and intense tempos can provoke positive and negative effects on the human brain. In many people’s opinion, these genres allow for the letting out of aggression, anger, and stress, thus making people feel much better. In a study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Sharman and Dingle (2015) revealed that fans of extreme metal music genres felt inspired while experiencing less hostility when listening to their favorite genre.

The loudness and aggression common in rock and metal can, therefore, cause a release of adrenaline, and this increases energy. However, it should be mentioned that the effects of these genres can be different depending on judgment and certain circumstances; for example, it can cause more agitation among people who are not used to listening to very active music.

Jazz and Blues

Jazz and blues are often described as a free style of music with a lot of feeling behind it, which in turn helps stimulate creativity and relieve stress. These genres engage the default mode network, a pattern of brain activity linked to daydreaming and creativity. According to Limb and Braun (2008) in PLOS ONE, jazz improvisation is associated with substantial brain functioning in the creativity and generation of musical innovations.

The beats of jazz and blues can also help regulate the cortisol hormone, which is known to cause stress among individuals and put them in relaxed mode. This makes them suitable for tasks that involve creative thinking and analysis and can improve divergent thinking, a crucial element of creativity.

Electronic Dance Music (EDM)

Energetic beats characterize EDM music and are most commonly related to clubbing or raving; however, they also have beneficial uses in concentration. For instance, the bass drum and other recurring patterns of EDM can foster flow and focus for listeners.

Daoussis and McKelvie conducted a study in the Psychology of Music in 1986 to determine the effects of repetitive rhythmic music on cognitive performance and concentration, and the results were positive. EDM with a constant metronome will enhance wakefulness and decrease perceived exertion during monotonous exercises, making it suitable for physical and cognitive tasks that demand attention and exertion.

Hip-Hop and Rap

Hip-hop and rap music, through the use of rhythms and rhymes as well as the content of the lyrics, are beneficial in terms of cognitive and emotional perspectives. These genres may, therefore, contain complicated wordplay and storying, which may cause activation of linguistic and cognition-related regions of the brain.

Travis (2013) published research in the Journal of Black Studies that pointed out hip-hop can be used for healing and art therapy. Listening and performing hip-hop, rap, and related music can help improve verbal abilities and memory and even serve as therapy for people with emotional problems and social interactions.

Folk and Country Music

Folks and country music, based on the story and tradition, can create vivid and nostalgic associations. These genres often depict love and loss or everyday life, and because of this, fans can establish an emotional connection with the music. According to a study by Janata in the Cerebral Cortex journal, music can elicit autobiographical memories in two ways: activating the medial prefrontal cortex related to emotional and memory-related functions.

Thus, folk and country music, as the art that provokes powerful and concrete associations, can be seen as an effective means to address the subject of this kind of music, to make people recall their history and share the values of continuity and cohesiveness. That’s why you shouldn’t underestimate music! It is a powerful source of inspiration and motivation to help you overcome many academic barriers.

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