Everybody loves music…….or do they? Music has always been a huge part of my life and whenever I hear someone say “Eh, I don’t really like music” it’s like hearing someone say “I don’t really like water” or “I don’t really like breathing.” I used to think people like that just needed more exposure to good music but research done at McGill and Ohio State University reveals that it’s not ignorance or bad taste, but rather biology that explains why some people just don’t really care for music. If you have ever gotten the chills from a song, a killer guitar solo or a great vocalist, you are in the minority. Only 35% of people can have music-induced chills or goosebumps (the technical term for pleasurable goosebumps is the French frisson though one German scientist like to call them ‘skin orgasms’).
In addition to giving you the shivers, music can also trigger a release of dopamine and “peak emotional arousal.” Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that causes addiction and it gets released when we experience food, sex or drugs. That means for about 1/3 of people, listening to a favorite album is as pleasurable as eating a double fudge sundae.
So maybe “Sex, Drugs and Rock n’ Roll” is more than just a contrived saying. And maybe instead of judging those middle-schoolers for crying when they hear a Justin Bieber song, we should celebrate that they have the ability to respond to any music so strongly.