Why does music make us feel happy or sad? Or angry or romantic? How can simple sound waves cause so much emotion?
First things first, this is the best t-shirt I’ve worn in any episode.
I went from my comfy chair to the streets of Austin to investigate whether it might be written into neural evolution. Modern neuroscience says our brains may be wired to pick certain emotions out of music because they remind us of how people move!
Humans are the only species we know that creates and communicate using music, but it’s still unclear how or why we do that, brain-wise. Is it just a lucky side effect of evolution, like Steven Pinker says? Or is it a deeper part of our evolutionary history, as people like Mark Changizi and Daniel Levitin argue?
Some brand new evolutionary psychology research says that we may read emotion in music because it relates to how we sense emotion in people’s movements. We’ll take a trip from Austin to Dartmouth to Cambodia to hear why music makes us feel so many feels. The connections between movement and music go far beyond dance moves!
Mike over at Idea Channel has a different opinion, that our emotional reactions to music are purely learned and cultural. Head on over and check it out. Do you agree?
For more reading on this awesome topic, check out these references.