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This Is Your Brain on Music

The Science of a Human Obsession
Written by: Daniel J. Levitin
Narrated by: Daniel J. Levitin
Length: 11 hrs and 46 mins

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Publisher's Summary

Whether you load your iPod with Bach or Bono, music has a significant role in your life - even if you never realized it. Why does music evoke such powerful moods? The answers are at last becoming clear, thanks to revolutionary neuroscience and the emerging field of evolutionary psychology. Both a cutting-edge study and a tribute to the beauty of music itself, This Is Your Brain on Music unravels a host of mysteries that affect everything from pop culture to our understanding of human nature, including:

  • Are our musical preferences shaped in utero?
  • Is there a cutoff point for acquiring new tastes in music?
  • What do PET scans and MRIs reveal about the brain’s response to music?
  • Is musical pleasure different from other kinds of pleasure?

This Is Your Brain on Music explores cultures in which singing is considered an essential human function, patients who have a rare disorder that prevents them from making sense of music, and scientists studying why two people may not have the same definition of pitch. At every turn, this provocative work unlocks deep secrets about how nature and nurture forge a uniquely human obsession.

©2006 Daniel J. Levitin (P)2020 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

"Endlessly stimulating, a marvelous overview, and one which only a deeply musical neuroscientist could give.... An important book." (Oliver Sacks, MD)

"I loved reading that listening to music coordinates more disparate parts of the brain than almost anything else - and playing music uses even more! Despite illuminating a lot of what goes on, this book doesn't 'spoil' enjoyment - it only deepens the beautiful mystery that is music." (David Byrne, founder of Talking Heads and author of How Music Works)

"Levitin is a deft and patient explainer of the basics for the non-scientist as well as the non-musician.... By tracing music's deep ties to memory, Levitin helps quantify some of music's magic without breaking its spell." (Los Angeles Times Book Review)

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