Daniel Levitin – This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science of a Human Obsession
Why we prefer one song to another—like so much else—is pretty damn complicated
For Daniel Levitin, the complex relationship between music and the mind has been a lifelong obsession.
Levitin started as a music fan, then joined a rock band, later became a successful producer and ?nally made himself into a world-renowned neuroscientist. In all these roles, Levitin has asked a simple question: “Why do some songs move us so and others leave us cold?”
The answer leads Levitin to explore what music is, and how it gets processed in the human mind. Our reactions to songs, Levitin summarizes, are the result of an amazingly intricate relationship between nature (how our brains are hard-wired) and nurture (the musical culture we absorb). We approach songs with a set of expectations, says Levitin, and “songs that we keep coming back to for years play around with [these] expectations.”
In a book brimming with scienti?c research and musical references, Levitin skillfully investigates our profoundly human love of music.