The Psychological Effects of Music on Social Connection and Unity

Siobahn Hotaling holds a master of arts in psychology from Harvard University and serves as a project consultant for the Adaption Institute. Along with being the founding member and former creative director for the New York Artists Collective, Siobahn Hotaling is a singer/songwriter who has two released albums.

One area that Siobahn Hotaling has been interested in is the psychological impact that music can have on humanity. Music has a way of bringing people together and helping unify communities. It is also innate to the human experience, a concept reinforced by scientific evidence of neurons within the human brain dedicated to processing music. Singing and listening to music with other people impacts neuro-chemicals in the brain that facilitate social closeness and deeper levels of connection. For instance, singing causes the brain to release endorphins, a chemical that enhances pleasure and minimizes pain perception. According to a University of Oxford study, singing within a group instead of alone can make the brain release more of them.

Furthermore, some researchers believe that the rhythm of music can promote a sense of community and belonging among those within a group. To test this theory, one multidisciplinary team of researchers divided 100 adults into three groups with a different type of auditory stimuli and asked them to complete an activity that involved cooperation and movement coordination. Auditory stimuli used for the study included rhythmic music, non-rhythmic music, and white noise. The results indicated that the group who listened to rhythmic music prior to the task performed better than the others.

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Siobahn Hotaling

Siobahn Hotaling — Musician and Digital Marketing Professional