New research from social neuroscientists from Bar-Ilan University and the University of Chicago have studied the social functions and brain mechanisms influenced by making music in a group.
This study is unique because it focuses on what happens in the brain when people make music together, rather than when they listen to or practice music individually.
The team has highlighted five key functions and mechanisms involving 12 brain regions that contribute to social connection through music. The functions include empathy circuits, oxytocin secretion, reward and motivation, including dopamine release, language structures, and cortisol.
Study authors say: “A better understanding of the social neuroscience of music can play an important role for helping to improve social bonding around the world… Music is a powerful tool that can bring individuals together, promote empathy and communication, and heal social divisions. A better scientific understanding of how music provides brain-to-brain social connections helps highlight that music isn't mere entertainment, but instead is a core feature of human existence with important social implications.”