Music and the Brain

So I have been trying to find some way to show the enormous impact of music within the OWS movement. Over the course of this semester it has certainly proved to be a more difficult task than I thought. The truth is music itself has not played a large role within the movement, but it has so much to do with the little things, that make the big things possible. Let me explain.

Way back in 2000 Time Magazine featured an article by Michael D. Lemonick who wrote about “Music on the Brain”. Additionally he brought up several great points that are worthy of some thought and discussion when considering the role of the arts within the movement. Below is an excerpt from this article:

“As for music’s emotional impact, there is some indication that music can affect levels of various hormones, including cortisol (involved in arousal and stress), testosterone (aggression and arousal) and oxytocin (nurturing behavior) as well as trigger release of the natural opiates known as endorphins. Using PET scanners, Zatorre has shown that the parts of the brain involved in processing emotion seem to light up with activity when a subject hears music” (Lemonick).

This is an incredibly important discovery. Music literally has a direct effect on the brain, whether we want it to or not. Throughout the movement celebrities have written pieces expressing their take on the movement, people have written parody songs to poke fun at the movement, and people for centuries have been protesting with the help of songs and chants, all sung in unison. Music has been used in the OWS movement and in protests throughout time to, quite literally, make their voices heard. Maybe music has a little more to do with the movement than we thought.



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