Amazing maps that reveal where the body feels different types of music
Whether it’s a slow love song or an upbeat dance anthem, songs have a unique way of evoking emotions in people.
Now, scientists have revealed the exact place where different types of music are felt in the body.
It is somewhat unsurprising that sad songs elicit a response in the heart and in the pit of the stomach.
Meanwhile, aggressive songs really get us excited, according to researchers from the Turku Pet Center in Finland.
“The effect of music on the body is universal,” said Vesa Potkinen, lead author of the study.
Music is often described as the “universal language that everyone speaks”, with previous studies showing that when people from different cultures hear their favorite song, they can’t resist moving.
However, to date, little research has examined how music elicits bodily sensations across cultures.
In their new study, the team enrolled 2,000 participants, half of them from Europe or North America, and the other half from China.
Participants were shown silhouettes of human bodies and asked to indicate which bodily area they thought would be activated in response to different styles of music.
The results revealed that different styles of music cause very different physical sensations.
Sad or tender songs are felt in the head, chest, and pit of stomach, while scary or aggressive songs are felt mostly in the head.
At the same time, the happy and dancing songs felt in my head and feet.
The researchers also discovered that the emotions and physical sensations evoked by the music were similar between Western and Asian listeners.
“Certain sonic features of music were associated with similar feelings in Western and Asian listeners,” said Professor Lauri Nominma, co-author of the study.
“Music with a clear rhythm was found happy and danceable while dissonance in music was associated with aggression.
“Because these sensations are similar across different cultures, it is likely that music-induced emotions are independent of culture and learning and rely on inherited biological mechanisms.”
According to the researchers, the findings suggest that music may have emerged as a way to enhance social interaction.
“People turn to music in all cultures, and synchronized postures, movements and sounds are a universal sign of belonging,” Dr Potkinen said.
“Music may have emerged during the evolution of the human species to enhance social interaction and a sense of community by synchronizing listeners’ bodies and emotions.”