Hard-Wired for Music

“We are hard-wired in the brain to love music.”

– Dr. Daniel Levitin

Last week after I posted The Power of Music, I had so many people email me and make comments regarding how important music is to them, that I decided to look into it further. And what I discovered was fascinating. Both Sharon Begley and Dr. Daniel Levitin have found that the brain is hard-wired for music. In an article for Newsweek, Sharon Begley says:

“Scientists are finding that the human brain is pre-wired for music. Could this sublime expression of culture be as much about biology as art?  . . . The temporal lobes of the brain, just behind the ears, act as the music center. When neurosurgeons tickle these regions with a probe, patients have been known to hear tunes so vividly that they ask, Why is there a phonograph in the operating room?”


Most of us would agree that music powerfully affects our emotions. In a new study using brain imaging, researchers have identified how music can cause emotion-related brain activity. I know that I definitely use music to enhance whatever emotion I am feeling – sad, soulful ballads when I’m feeling, well, sad and soulful; or music to change a mood – if I’m feeling blah and flat, I can put on some upbeat and snappy music to lift my mood and energize me; and nothing beats a bit of Marvin Gaye to create just the right mood for a romantic evening for me!

For this post I’m attaching two videos, one each from Dr. Daniel Levitin and Sharon Begley. There were so many choices on YouTube that I was hard pressed to choose only two.  I get so excited learning this stuff about the brain and I love to share it!

Dr. Daniel Levitin – author of “This is Your Brain on Music.”


Sharon Begley – co-author with Dr. Richard Davidson “The Emotional Life of Your Brain”


Please let me know your thoughts on these two videos, and I’d love to hear any stories you have about the role of music in your life.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.





4 thoughts on “Hard-Wired for Music

  1. Hello Patti – thank you for this post. I enjoyed reading the articles and watching the videos. And i agree with you – nothing like Marvin Gaye to get me in a romantic mood!


  2. Many decades ago there was some research that, I believe, said that children in the whom whose moms listened to classical music grew up to be better adjusted, more creative, etc., than children whose moms listened to rock or country music. I haven’t seen any research recently about children whose moms listen to rap or hip-hop.


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