Thursday, September 14, 2006

Music Makes Your Brain Happy

"Music is clearly a means for improving people's moods. Now we think we know why," writes Toronto neuroscientist Daniel Levitin in "This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession."

It turns out, according to Levitin, that music stimulates the parts of our brains that deal with emotion and make us feel good by tinkering with the levels of happy-time chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine. Kind of like ---- you guessed it ---- an antidepressant."

A lot of people do use music to self-medicate," Levitin said in an interview. "To get going in the morning, to motivate them to exercise or clean the house, to calm them at night or comfort them after a stressful or sad event."

In fact, singer Joni Mitchell "told me that before there was Prozac, there was her," Levitin added. (He knows Mitchell and lots of other rock stars because he used to be a music producer.)

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