There is only one universal language and it is known as music. This language is understood by people with same emotions and feelings. This language does not discriminate between barriers, races, or genders; it only understands beats, tunes, and rhythm. Its massive power and its effect on humans is beyond imagination. The beats can change the mood and lower the stress. May it be intensifying the positive emotions such as happiness, tune into the song with fast beats. Or if you want to lessen the effect of negative emotions such as anger or exasperation, tune into a soothing song. The music is always there. Without consideration of cast, creed, or culture, the music is there to soothe our souls.
The list of how the music helps us goes on and on without the end. Its effect is immeasurable yet significant. As music connects with emotions and feelings of people, it makes a different effect on people who are more sensitive to others’ emotions and feelings. Those people are known as empathetic people. The new study found that empathetic people gain more pleasure from listening to music than others.
The recent research conducted by Southern Methodist University (SMU) found that there was an increase in activity in regions of the brain related to the social activity. Researchers asked subjects about their music tastes, the songs they loved and hated. After the interview, they were put to the MRI scanner. Then different selections were played which also included unfamiliar tunes. The objective was to study brain activities of subjects. Zachary Wallmark, an assistant professor of musicology at SMU and lead author of the study, outlined that all subjects experienced positive activity when the music they love was played. This activity increased in empathetic people. However, when the music that they did not like was played, there was an activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of the brain in empathetic people. This area of the brain is related with executive control and regulation of emotional reactions.
Wallmark said, “What this suggested to us is that these empathic people are hearing new music…and they tell us they dislike it after the fact…but they might be deliberately trying to ratchet down their negative reaction, maybe give more of the benefit of the doubt to this new music, even though they find it highly aversive.”
There are various analyses available to determine empathetic people. These people are able to see things from point of view of others and feel what others are feeling. Empathy quotient is not divided evenly among the population. The individual differences between people are related to the function of the brain. Highly empathetic people show enhanced activities in regions of the brain related to social and emotional processing after undergoing through socially relevant experiences. Researchers used the “interpersonal reactivity index” which determines the tendency of a person to feel what others feel. This test tries to determine how people connect with others and relate to feelings of others. As music helps in coping up with stress and exasperation, being empathetic help in being happier while listening to music.