Hearing, Listening and Music's Effect on the Brain

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Hearing and listening may seem like synonyms but they refer to different processes. Hearing is a biological process that involves the ear transferring the physical stimuli of sound to neural impulses. Listening is more difficult to quantify as it takes place within the brain. It is generally thought to occur in the temporal lobe and various other regions of the brain but the exact mechanism by which this occurs is unknown. Music has a lot of impact on the brain. It activates several regions of the brain in order to listen to the sound, interpret it as music, and respond to it. The brain has a lot of power, and music has the ability to strongly affect the brain, so music has a lot of impact on people. It affects our emotions and our autonomic responses. Understanding music and how human’s hear and understand it helps further our understanding of the mind, the body and music itself. Sound is vibrations through a medium, usually air when discussing human hearing. These movements in the air fluctuate in pressure, creating a wave like pattern. This pattern is based on the compression of the air rather than a literal wave-form however it still has the characteristics of a wave. Since it has the characteristics of waves it can be interpreted as a mathematical wave. The most important aspects to human hearing are the sounds frequency and wavelength which are interrelated and relate to the pitch, while the amplitude relates to the loudness of the sound. Physically the amplitude of the sound wave refers to the intensity of the pressure in the wave. Loudness is not simply the intensity of the sound, however, as perception of loudness is also affected by qualities such as frequency and timbre. These physical waveforms are inte... ... middle of paper ... ...r other emotional issues. Music elicits a very complicated response in the brain. From the fairly concrete physical process of hearing to the nebulous process of interpreting sound, melody, pitch etc. in the brain. This is still a developing field especially since the brain is not well understood yet. There are many intricacies in the brain that have to do with music and the processes by which music is heard, understood, and how the brain reacts. Music has a evermore known role in the brain. It has moved from something never mentioned in cognitive neuroscience to something that is regarded as an important component of the brain’s abilities. Music elicits a holistic response from the brain causing activity all over the brain and it is proving as an important tool in understanding the brain as medical technology advances and we gain better looks at the brain in work.

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