Rick Nauert in Psych Central:
New research discovers that your favorite music, be it Willie Nelson, Bach, the Beatles, or Bruno Mars, triggers a similar type of activity in your brain as other people’s favorites do in theirs.
Music is primal, said neuroradiologist Jonathan Burdette, M.D., of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina. It affects all of us, but in very personal, unique ways.
“Your interaction with music is different than mine, but it’s still powerful,” he said.
“Your brain has a reaction when you like or don’t like something, including music. We’ve been able to take some baby steps into seeing that, and ‘dislike’ looks different than ‘like’ and much different than ‘favorite.’”
To study how music preferences might affect functional brain connectivity — the interactions among separate areas of the brain — Burdette and his fellow investigators used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which depicts brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow.
Scans were made of 21 people while they listened to music they said they most liked and disliked from among five genres (classical, country, rap, rock, and Chinese opera) and to a song or piece of music they had previously named as their personal favorite.
Those fMRI scans showed a consistent pattern: The listeners’ preferences, not the type of music they were listening to, had the greatest impact on brain connectivity, especially on a brain circuit known to be involved in internally focused thought, empathy, and self-awareness.