Your Brain on Music

Science starts to unravel our natural affinity

While Dr. Steven Pinker has said that music is nothing more than "auditory cheesecake" piggybacking on the powers of speech, Levitin is among those who believe music is something more.

"Darwin thought [music was important] for sexual selection. I'm not going to contradict him. The evidence for that is good. But I also think it was and continues to be a form of communication for communicating emotions, and that as a form of emotional communication, it can actually be better than language," Levitin says.

Musicophile Oliver Sacks
Elena Selbert
Musicophile Oliver Sacks

Beyond (or maybe because of) its involvement in critical brain areas, music is something capable of spanning wide social and cultural chasms, bringing people of disparate backgrounds together, partly through its ability to concisely address universal human truths, and partly, it would seem, because of something even more innate.

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