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|Today I Love The Raven Days
||Today I love the raven days of summer, dark and moody, doing all the worrying for me so that I can keep moving forward while leaving my troubles in their … ...
|Help for US Military Service Members and Their Families...
||The Military’s Truth About Depression – A Video Video: 3:04 A Different Type of Battle for This Navy man This is a real story. The battle lines are in the … ...
|6 Benefits for Children of “Older Mothers”
||Much is said about the benefits—and drawbacks—of women waiting to have babies, but what are the potential pluses for the children of older mothers?
|Methylene blue shows promise for improving short-term memory: Study in humans
||A single oral dose of methylene blue results in an increased MRI-based response in brain areas that control short-term memory and attention, according to a new study. Methylene blue was associated with a 7 percent increase in correct responses during memory retrieval.
|How Music Bonds Us Together
||At GGSC’s recent awe conference, Melanie DeMore led the audience in a group sing as part of the day’s activities. Judging from participant responses, it was clear that something magical happened: We all felt closer and more connected because of that experience of singing together.
Why is singing such a powerful social glue? Most of us hear music from the moment we are born, often via lullabies, and through many of the most important occasions in our lives, from graduations to weddings to funerals. There is something about music that seems to bring us closer to each other and help us come together as a community.
There’s little question that humans are wired for music. Researchers recently discovered that we have a dedicated part of our brain for processing music, supporting the theory that it has a special, important function in our lives.
Listening to music and singing together has been shown in several studies to directly impact neuro-chemicals in the brain, many of which play a role in closeness and connection.
Now new research suggests that playing music or singing together may be particularly potent in bringing about social closeness through the release of endorphins.
In one study, researchers found that performing music—through singing, drumming, and dancing—all resulted in participants having higher pain thresholds (a proxy measure for increased endorphin release in the brain) in comparison to listening to music alone. In addition, the performance of music resulted in greater positive emotion, suggesting one pathway through which people feel closer to one another when playing music together is through endorphin release.
In another study, researchers compared the effects of singing together in a small choir (20-80 people) versus a larger choir (232 people) on measures of closeness and on pain thresholds. The researchers found that both choir groups increased their pain threshold levels after singing; however, the larger group experienced bigger changes in social closeness after singing than the smaller group. This suggested to the researchers that endorphins produced in singing can act to draw large groups together quickly.
Music has also been linked to dopamine release, involved in regulating mood and craving behavior, which seems to predict music’s ability to bring us pleasure. Coupled with the effects on endorphins, music seems to make us feel good and connect with others, perhaps particularly when we make music ourselves.
But music is more than just a common pleasure. New studies reveal how it can work to create a sense of group identity.
In a series of ingenious studies, researchers Chris Loerch and Nathan Arbuckle studied how musical reactivity—how much one is affected by listening to music—is tied to group processes, such as one’s sense of belonging to a group, positive associations with ingroup members, bias toward outgroup members, and responses to group threat in various populations.
The researchers found that “musical reactivity is causally related to…basic social motivations” and that “reactivity to music is related to markers of successful group living.” In other words, music makes us affiliate with groups.
But how does music do this? Some researchers believe that it’s the rhythm in music that helps us to synch up our brains and coordinate our body movements with others, and that’s how the effects can be translated to a whole group. Research supports this thesis, by showing how coordinating movement through music increases our sense of community and prosocial behavior. Indeed, one study found two year olds synchronized their body movements to a drumbeat—more accurately to a human they could see than to a drum machine.
This tendency to synchronize seems to become only more important as we grow. In another study, adults listened to one of three types of music—rhythmic music, non-rhythmic music, or “white noise”—and then engaged in a task that involved cooperating and coordinating their movements. Those who listened to rhythmic music finished the tasks more efficiently than those who listened to the other types of sound, suggesting that rhythm in music promotes behaviors that are linked to social cohesion.
In another study, people seated side by side and asked to rock at a comfortable rate tended to coordinate better without music, but felt closer to one another when they did synchronize while listening to music. In a study by Scott Wiltermuth and Chip Heath of Stanford University, those who listened to music and coordinated their movements to the music were able to cooperate better and act more generously toward others when participating in economic games together (even in situations requiring personal loss for the good of the group, such as in the Public Goods Game).
All of this evidence helps confirm music’s place in augmenting our social relationships. Perhaps that’s why, when you want people to bond, music is a natural resource for making that happen. Whether at concerts, social events, or awe conferences, music can help us connect, cooperate, and care for each other. This suggests that, if we want to have a more harmonious society, we would do well to continue to include music in our—and our children’s—lives.
|Best of Our Blogs: June 28, 2016
||We can start to fear discomfort. Trips, jobs and relationships can all be potential disappointments. Even superficial disappointments can remind us of deeper childhood pain or future goals we have yet to attain. Over time, comfort feels like safety, but prevents us from experiencing new … ...
|4 Things You Didn’t Know About Tourette Syndrome
||Tourette Syndrome is a disorder that involves physical and vocal tics. It appears to affect about 0.5 percent of all children and often improves in adulthood. People with Tourette Syndrome frequently have other conditions like OCD, ADHD and depression. Despite being fairly common, Tourette Syndrome still isn’t well understood by...
|How a Cultural Meme Was Born
||New insights into the origin of language as a mandrill in an English zoo invents a gesture for "leave me alone," and it spreads through the community
|Trauma is an Experience, Not an Event
||It seems like “trauma” has become one of those household terms everyone talks about. I took a look at the number of average monthly Google searches for “trauma” in the U.S., and found that it has grown 22% in only one year. As with other terms … ...
|6 Steps of Stress Management
||Stress management is vital when dealing with bipolar disorder. It’s important for everyone to learn to manage stress, but with bipolar disorder, stress can have a larger impact both in … ...
|Why I Won’t Go Potty!
||Word on the street is our toileting fears are a mystery to you parent folks out there. For starters, this potty training thing is messed up. I know you grown … ...
|Veils, Headscarves May Improve Observers' Ability To Judge Truthfulness, Study Finds
||May compel greater attention to more revealing cues
|Attention changes perceptions of facial attractiveness
||There is a long history of evidence that identifies attention as a powerful modulator of many visual behavior performances. Tasks have been designed to test its influence on stimulus detection, discrimination and a wide range of other aspects of visual processing, but less is known about attention’s impact on the way an individual perceives things [...]
|Toxoplasma Gondii infection: Does this parasitic disease alter the brain and behavior?
||Many researchers believe that Toxoplasma gondii infection (Toxoplasmosis) can alter the human brain and behavior. However, recent research published this February in PLOS ONE suggests that there may be nothing to worry about after all. The study reports that there was little evidence that Toxoplasmosis gondii was related to increased risk of psychiatric disorder, poor [...]
|Physical activity boosts kids’ brain power and academic prowess
||Exercise boosts kids’ and young people’s brain power and academic prowess, says a consensus statement on physical activity in schools and during leisure time, published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Time taken away from lessons for physical activity is time well spent and does not come at the cost of getting good [...]
|Surviving Job Loss? What to Do When The —-...
||When The —- Hits The Fan! What can you do? I know some may have thought that this Mental Health Humor cartoonist would be drawing a poop emoji hitting the … ...
|Breakthrough in brain tumor research
||A potentially ground-breaking scientific breakthrough with far-reaching consequences for future treatments of brain tumors is to be revealed. For patients with brain tumors, a new formulation significantly increases the ability of drugs to cross the blood brain barrier.
|Study explores emotional intelligence and stress in social work
||Realistic workloads and ongoing emotional support are essential if social workers are to manage stress and perform their job effectively, according to new research. The study examined the relationship between emotional intelligence -- the ability to identify and manage emotions in oneself and others -- stress, burnout and social work practice. It also assessed whether emotional intelligence training for social workers would reduce their burnout rates over time.
|Seemingly Small Steps That Can be Powerful
||We think we need to make big earth-shattering decisions to build meaningful lives, to make positive changes. And sometimes that’s true. Sometimes that might mean moving to a new city, … ...