The thought that your brainwaves are syncing with absolute strangers sounds scary, right? Well, there’s actually nothing to be afraid of. In fact, you should be excited.
This is a good thing; it makes you enjoy concerts even more. Turns out, evolution’s been working hard to make the show just a little bit more enjoyable. But how?
We already know live music can help you live longer, healthier lives. It’s been proven in a couple different studies that participating in live music at concerts is actually more beneficial than solo listening sessions.
Usually the explanation for the phenomenon of enjoying music together falls back on the concept that humans are social creatures, and, because of that, we enjoy the social interaction that live music brings. So what’s the actual science behind it?
Jessica Grahn, a professor at Western University in London, Ontario thinks she’s figured it out in her latest study. Basically, when individuals attend live music, their brainwaves all synchronize, or entrain, causing enjoyment as a collective. Don’t worry, this pretty much just means you’re vibing with other concert goers.
The study occurred in the LIVELAB concert hall, where researchers gathered EEG (an electroencephalogram test that detects electrical activity in your brain) data on 24 participants who listened to pre-recorded music as well as music performed live. Maximum synchronization of brainwaves occurred when live music occurred.
Brainwave synchronization allows for people to be in sync with their movements, which creates a sense of community and altruism. So when the energy at a concert feels extra special? You were probably all in sync, and you can thank science (and evolution) for that.