Whether it's Mozart, Joni Mitchell, Adele or newcomers like Frank Ocean, music is powerful and has existed in all cultures throughout history. But why do humans find music so addictive and pleasurable? At its core, music is the combination of audio frequencies and intricate patterns, floating through the air and clashing together in your ear. Much like your eyes process light, your ears process waves of sound and trigger a state of excitement and sometimes pleasure in your brain.
不管是莫扎特，Joni Mitchell，Adele或是向Frank Ocean一樣的新人，音樂的力量很強並長久存在於所有的歷史文化之中。但為何人們覺得音樂那麼有吸引力又令人快樂？音樂的核心，是聲音頻率和精密型態的結合，從空氣中飄來並在你的耳朵中碰撞作聲。就像是眼睛處理光線一樣，耳朵會處理音波，並在腦中產生一種時而刺激，時而愉悅的狀態。
Humans experience pleasure from many stimulants such as food, sex and drugs. But because many of these stimulants are necessary for human survival, the body has created a system in which it rewards you for achieving them. What's really happening is a release of a neurotransmitter in the brain called dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical responsible for making you feel good. When dopamine is released following a reward such as a delicious meal or winning the lottery, the neurotransmitter causes a feeling of pleasure and satisfaction. Drugs, such as cocaine, take advantage of this pathway by increasing the amount of dopamine, or rather, preventing its removal, causing continual stimulation of your neurons, which creates intense moments of pleasure.
Music has the ability to create a state of arousal, causing pupils to dilate, blood pressure to rise, and the brain to fire in auditory, movement and emotional regions. And even though music does not have a direct survival benefit, this emotional reaction causes a release of the feel good chemical dopamine. Though the exact evolutionary reasoning is unclear, the amazing fact remains, music chemically alters our body and makes us feel great. And in the same way that a drug induced dopamine surge leaves you craving more, music becomes addictive. The dopamine tells your body it was rewarded and creates the desire to seek out more. Even though music enjoyment is entirely subjective and intertwined with cultural and personal experience, the chemical effects remain consistent amongst the human race, a perfectly natural drug of happiness.
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