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collectingrocks

The biological effects of music

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collectingrocks

Most of us listen to music to enjoy and relax but for some (and indeed me), it goes a lot deeper and some pieces of music really resonate or "hit the spot" when I listen deeply to a piece that I really like.

 

Does anyone know the biological mechanism for this? Why do some pieces of music literally "strike a chord" whilst other pieces are repelled and do nothing to me?

 

And does this happen more in autistics than NT's?

 

Thoughts gratefully received :)

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(deleted)

I don't know about the cause of this phenomenon, but I do observe this myself also and I think that it's more common in Autistic people and I guess that it's due to our greater involvment with the music which is turn perhaps caused by a greater sensory awareness combined with a tendancy to focus very narrowly on something to the exclusion of everything else (such as becoming completely absorbed with the music). It might also be to do with the greater depth of emotion felt by some Autistic people, and I know for myself that despite not becoming emotionally involved witht the music (due to a lack of "connection" with a situation) I do find that songs often carry a lot of emotional meaning for me.

Edited by invisible

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Nesf

I don't know why this happens. Music evokes an emotional response, but that doesn't account for varying taste in music; why one person loves death metal, for example, and another can't stand it. I think there are a lots of factors involved, such as upbringing/exposure to music in childhood, nostalgia, culture, being able to relate to lyrics, and sensory sensitivity. Those who are easily stimulated or sensory seeking and easily bored tend to prefer more complicated or louder music, and those who are easily ovewhelmed something more mellow... but that isn't always the case.

 

For me music is just one big stim and it matches my mood - when I have a lot of energy, I want to listen to something loud, more dynamic, complex and stimulating, and when I'm feeling tired or overloaded I want something more mellow to wind down. I think people choose music according to their sensory needs, or because they can relate to the lyrics.

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RiRi

I like to listen to mellow music because I like it. I do like a wide variety of music, but I prefer the less stimulating ones. Some pieces of music really resonate with me as well, but I wouldn't know the biological reason behind it. I have noticed a pattern of the kind of songs that I like most though, and they're similar in nature so I think there's a biological or exposure reason.

Edited by Makelets

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M A R K

I listen to a lot of electronic stuff (like everything from chilled out to dubstep - not just because I enjoy it anyway, but at times its like i feel the neurons in my head firing. the baselines and "noises" in that kind of music really really get into my head. 

 

I also listen to a lot of music people would consider sad, for me though it doesn't feel particularly sad, it just seems to hit the spot. This is mostly electronic music too.

 

Its strange because i know i don't have superhuman hearing, i.e i'm not hearing sounds that other people don't, but i am pretty sure my brain does something different with it than usual. I quite often get a tingling in my head that spreads to my shoulders and back followed by goose bumps. I think if i put my head in a scanner and compared to NT it would be lit up more in some areas. I love it. My son does too, his headphones are nearly always on and he is super protective over his iPod. 

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(deleted)

I quite often get a tingling in my head that spreads to my shoulders and back followed by goose bumps.

Funny enough, I get that as well, especially if it's a song that I particularly like either because of the sound of the music or the lyrics.

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storm-petrel

The tingling/goose bumps thing sounds like a description of 'frisson' or 'musical frisson'. I don't think the cause is really fully understood though I have seen some suggestion that people who are more deeply involved with the music seem to experience it more often. I get it a lot perhaps because I like to sit and relax and listen to music properly without any other distractions, rather than just having music on in the background whilst I'm focused on something else.

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M A R K

The tingling/goose bumps thing sounds like a description of 'frisson' or 'musical frisson'. I don't think the cause is really fully understood though I have seen some suggestion that people who are more deeply involved with the music seem to experience it more often. I get it a lot perhaps because I like to sit and relax and listen to music properly without any other distractions, rather than just having music on in the background whilst I'm focused on something else.

 

That's interesting, is it an aspie thing? I too listen hard rather than just use music for background noise, although i do a lot of thinking/brainstorming/pacing whilst i'm listening. 

Edited by M 4 R K J 7 8

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(deleted)

I definitely think it's an aspie thing to listen to music in a more focussed manner. I find that if I have music on in the background, I either miss the music altogether because I'm thinking about something else or I mess up whatever else I'm doing because I'm thinking about the music. I cannot really listen to music - as in, have it actually get processed in my brain other than just reaching my ears - and do something else at the same time.

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