Scientists Explain Why Music Can Make Us Cry

By Victor O

Image Courtesy of @snapeturemoments-3211897 / Pexels

As humans, we have several emotional nerve endings, and music is one of those things that tingle them fast. Sometimes, it’s the Bridal Chorus tune that gets you teary. Other times, it’s the ecstasy you ride on at Coachella. Regardless, music has struck a nerve in all of us at one time or the other. Let’s take a look at some scientific explanations for this phenomenon.

Research carried out in Germany proved that Cameroon’s Mafa people could identify various emotions in music. Especially those contained in Western music accurately. Yet, there are deeper explanations of how music and human emotions work together.

The well-published psychologist Steven Pinker popularly referred to music as tasty food (cheesecake, in his description) for the ears. He argued that music represents how humans explore and test our emotions. In the same way, cheesecake is a result of exploring our taste buds. Pinker saw music as something that can appeal to our sense organs as humans. Music communicates through them to evoke different emotions in us.

Mark Changzi, a renowned cognitive scientist, asserts that music evokes emotions in humans. This is because we relate the sound and tunes with human movement. Our familiarity with human expressions in the music makes us empathize with people. It’s why solemn movements from performers can induce sober/nostalgic emotions in us. And rock/ metal musicians’ funky, upbeat rave excites their audience.

Image Courtesy of @marcelochagas / Pexels

Several scientists and cognitive researchers have explanations for this phenomenon. These are just a few that explain why you cry to Coldplay’s Fix You.