Study finds that endorphin release through musical interest true to science
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/30/2013 -- As Ben Gibbard, lead singer for Death Cab for Cutie stated, "On a really great day, it feels like I and the band are the music. I feel it on a very spiritual level."
Musicians are often excused for the normal trappings of ethical living, and can indulge in items like sex, drugs, and rock and roll without any social recourse.
However, if you are familiar with the concept of flow, then you will notice that Gibbard in particular carries in his description sounds much like how an athlete describes quality training: A sort of total immersion of body and should into a singularity of harmony (pun intended). According to a new study that was published in Evolutionary Psychology, there is more than a simple metaphor that matches what Gibbard is talking about. Performing music, according to the study, releases endorphins, which is well known as one of the body's natural opiates that keeps anyone feeling good. It is most notable studied as “runner's high”.
Within the study, Oxford researchers, including Professor Robin Dunbar, conducted experiments to gauge how music increased tolerance to pain. Dunbar stated the use of pain tolerance under the accepted assumption that endorphin that is released will naturally increase pain tolerance.
While the experiment types varied, there was a common thread that showed those who were actively engaged in singing, drumming, or dancing, had a greater tolerance to pain than the other groups. According to Dunbar, the release of endorphins was associated with performing of/in music.
"Psychologically, endorphin release is experienced as a mild opiate 'high,' a corresponding feeling of well-being, and light analgesia," he wrote.
Gibbard, who runs 40 to 50 miles a week and has finished two marathons, say the research makes sense to him. "When I finish playing a show, I feel the same as after a long run," he says. "As a runner, the only thing that gives me the same feeling is playing live."
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