Musicians and Their Audiences Get in Sync, Down to the Neurological Level

Musicians and Their Audiences Get in Sync

According to a new paper, published in NeuroImage, the synchronizes exhibited between a musician and an audience extending beyond the behavioral and physical, they connect “right down at the neural level,” Research Digest reports. 


A team of researchers from East China Normal University not only observed “‘inter-brain coherence’ (IBC) - a synchronization in brain activity - between a musician and the audience, they also noticed the strength of the connection “could be used to predict how much the audience enjoyed a piece.”


Using near-infrared spectroscopy, the team monitored the brain activity of a professional violinist as he played and recorded 12 classical pieces. They then played the video for 16 women and monitored them using the same technique. They found IBC in the left temporal cortex, which processes the rhythm of sound information, and the right inferior frontal cortex and postcentral cortices. They also found a correlation between the average IBC score and how much the participants reported enjoying the music. 


More work will need to be done to further investigate this link, but now it gives us further insight into the connection between the performer and consumer. “This study expands our understanding of music appreciation,” the researchers write. “The results can potentially be applied to the development of brain indices for predicting public attitudes towards various musical performances.”