Science Questions

Sat, 1st Apr 2006

Part of the show Brainwashing and the Science of Pain

Question

Jackson via email asked:

We all know that music can affect mood. Why does it change our mood?

Answer

That's an area that's been looked at with some of these imaging tools because they enable us to look at the human brain in action. Certainly in the context of pain relieving mood when people use music to help relieve a chronic pain syndrome, a very calming pleasant piece of music can not only enable one to be distracted from the pain but it can also induce endogenous opioids. This can be a strategy for cognitive behavioural therapy to help people boost that endogenous system that we've got to get that added benefit. We are less familiar with the actual brain regions that modulate the mood but these are areas that are being looked at in the context of depression and other types of mood disorders and music is one of the areas that is being looked at. We know less about it at the moment.

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