The Music Effect: Music Physiology and Clinical Applications

The Music Effect: Music Physiology and Clinical Applications

The Music Effect: Music Physiology and Clinical Applications

The Music Effect: Music Physiology and Clinical Applications


Music is well known to have a significant effect on physiology and is widely used as an effective therapeutic tool in stress and pain management, rehabilitation, and behavior modification, but its effects are not well understood.


All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it
is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Arthur Schopenhauer

Back to basics

The more researchers learn about the structure and function of the human body – the more its intricate levels of organization are explored, from atoms to molecules to cells to tissues to organs to systems, and the more its input/output characteristics, its hierarchy of sophisticated feedback-feedforward control systems, and the paradigms by which it operates are identified, defined, and quantified – the clearer it becomes that the human body is programmed, first and foremost, to sustain itself for survival. That's as basic as it gets. Underneath all the logic, all the reasoning, all the mathematics and physics and chemistry, the basic instinct for survival is embedded in subcortical, instinctive emotional behavior that pre-dates cognitive behavior by hundreds of millions of years (Damasio 1994; LeDoux 1998; Schneck 2003f). When threatened, or perceived to be threatened, one reacts emotionally at first. You might not actually "feel" afraid, even while your body is already in a reaction mode; but you may become consciously aware of such threats, think about them, and intellectualize much later (e.g., see Libet 2002, 2003).

Thus, through its complex ambiensomatic sub-systems (referring to both the environment and the body) the human organism receives, processes, and responds to incoming sensory information (technically called input signals) long before cognitive information-processing networks even know about it.

Throughout this book, the reader will come across physiological terminology that formally describes the working mechanisms ofthe human body and how sensory information is dealt with for the purpose of survival. As one becomes more familiar with the language of physiology, what will also . . .

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