What Are Some Negative Effects of Music on the Brain?

Negative effects of music on the brain include a reduced ability to concentrate and memorize information. People may also experience agitation or other negative emotions when they listen to music that they do not enjoy.

Music has a profound effect on the brain. It connects the two hemispheres of the brain and activates many different parts of the brain, such as the motor cortex, sensory cortex, auditory cortex, hippocampus, cerebellum, amygdala, nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex. This can have an effect on emotional responses, sensory responses and the brain’s reward center.

However, all of this brain activity can be distracting. Background music can reduce concentration, which can make it difficult to retain information while working or studying. However, it may be beneficial to listen to music prior to studying, as doing so can activate key parts of the brain involved in concentration without the distracting effects of background music.

Although music can activate strong emotional responses and the brain’s reward center, people may experience negative responses while listening to music that they do not like. Listening to some kinds of music can produce signs of agitation, such as tension in some medical patients, according to a 2006 article in A Journal of Neurology. Some music can also cause overwhelming emotional reactions in some people, especially when the music in question evokes powerful memories.