It seems only natural that a science professor might hear Mozart differently than a 6-year-old boy. Preferences and personal taste seem to play a role in our listening pleasure; the boy, who only listens to happy sing-alongs, may not catch the intricacies of Mozart’s notes. Or would he?
According to a study in the European Journal of Neuroscience, there are more similarities among music listeners than you think. Despite our little idiosyncrasies, the brain actually experiences music the same way, not matter who you are or what your music preferences may be.
The study observed a group of participants using an fMRI while they listened to four symphonies from the late Baroque period – music that the participants were not familiar with. The researchers found that there were similar brain activity patterns in everyone who listened to the music, meaning that each individual perceived the music the same. No matter their backgrounds or music preferences, they shared a common listening experience.
Researchers believe that these findings mean our brains all pick apart music in a nearly identical fashion. Thus, music is able to unite people in a unique way.