WVU in the News: The uniting power of music during isolation

The world as we know it has turned on its head.

Never have we known a time when such huge swathes of society have been shut down, with governments across the globe enforcing lockdowns on their people in order to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Yet amongst the chaos and uncertainty, people around the world remain united in a single goal. And despite many feeling the effects of isolation, from anxiety to loneliness, we are witnessing the enormous power of music and sound to calm, unite and connect us, even when we cannot be together.

It is well recognized that music has the unique ability to evoke different emotions, whether to excite, to enrage, to sooth or to calm us. According to Kim Innes, a professor of epidemiology at West Virginia University's School of Public Health, music seems to "selectively activate" neurochemical systems and brain structures associated with positive mood, emotion regulation, attention and memory in ways that promote beneficial changes.

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