Why does music make us feel happy or sad? Or angry or romantic? How can simple sound waves cause so much emotion? Joe Hanson, host of It's Okay to Be Smart, went from his comfy chair to the streets of Austin to investigate how it might be written into our neuroscience and evolution. Modern neuroscience says our brains may be wired to pick certain emotions out of music because they remind us of how people move!
Humans are the only species we know that creates and communicate using music, but it's still unclear how or why we do that, brain-wise. Is it just a lucky side effect of evolution, like Steven Pinker says? Or is it a deeper part of our evolutionary history, as people like Mark Changizi and Daniel Levitin argue?
New evolutionary science says that we may read emotion in music because it relates to how we sense emotion in people's movements. We'll take a trip from Austin to Dartmouth to Cambodia to hear why music makes us feel so many feels.