Yesterday a sound made me jump. It wasn’t loud, nor was it scary, just a sound that vibrated through my home when I was all alone, making me react, whether I wanted to or not.
I was watching a film, sipping my tea, when a noise surprised me and made me leave my seat and explore. It had been a sort of rustling dong, or a scrapping plonk, a definite downward drop. At first I thought it had come from the kitchen, but I couldn’t find anything out of place, so I wandered upstairs and the only thing I could see was my dressing-grown lying on the ground. Somehow it had jumped of it’s hook and decided to take a nap on the floor.
As I hung the blue offender back up I started to wonder about sounds and how they influence and alert us. We all do that sudden head upwards jerk when we hear an unexpected sound. We all let ourselves get distracted when a song filled with memories makes it’s way out of the radio. We’ve all experienced how the score in a film makes our heart beat faster or brings tears to our eyes.And some of us have sounds that remind them of certain events.
For me, for some odd reason, the sound of the washing machine hon a high spin-cycle always reminds me of summer and makes me happy and I really don’t know why. The first time I hear “Last Christmas” on the radio I know Christmas is near and my heart skips an excited beat. The sound of a train rattling by makes me think of holidays and adventures and the flip-flop on my sandals on the grown makes me feel like skipping down to the beach.
Scientist have known for a long time that sound is closely linked to our emotions. And studies in neuroscience have shown that no only is the Hippocampus (helps form memories), the Amygdala (processes memories and emotional reactions) and the Insular cortex (regulates the heartbeat and is connected to empathy, pain and social awareness) closely linked to sounds, but so are the Cerebellum (motor function and learning) the Thalamus (regulates data and sleep) the Prefontal cortex (linked to personality and decision making) and the Broca area (affects language comprehension).
When you look at this list it no longer seems surprising that sounds effects us in so many ways, why people react to sounds and particularly music. Our brains are hardwired to listen and often let our ears decide what we think and feel.
With that in mind and the sun shining outside I will now put on some music, let my feet find the beat and dance in the hope that happy thoughts and shook up body will help me find my muse for the day.