Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Song In My Heart

When Lovemarks was created, one of the key elements that I could not leave out of the equation was Sensuality. The senses of sight, sound, touch, taste and smell have such an effect on our emotions that to leave them out would be simply unthinkable. Sound in the form of music has its roots in poetry, and in my opinion, the best songs always tell the best stories.

It is true that we don’t need music to live. It’s not like food - it’s not intrinsic to our survival – but it seems to have been helpful in human evolution. It’s also very good for the soul.

There’s a terrific story in Science of a neuroscientist who just had to study the effect of music on our brains after she was compelled to pull over while driving after hearing Johannes Brahms's "Hungarian Dance No. 5". Her name is Valorie Salimpoor, and with other researchers from McGill University in Montreal, what she has discovered is that when we have an emotional response to a song, we also have a direct intellectual one too.

The intellectual reward we get from music is pattern recognition. When music develops in a way that is slightly novel, but still in line with our brains predictions, we tend to like it a lot. Salimpoor describes it as something of an “intellectual conquest”. This, potentially, tapped in a brain mechanism that was vital for our evolutionary process and is related to our “ability to recognize patterns and generalize from experience, to predict what’s likely to happen in the future — in short, the ability to imagine.”

This explains why music is such a vital ingredient in film and in television advertising. Music creates heart. Music is a direct route to both the brain and the heart.

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