Friday, March 18, 2011

Another Music Hormone?

This article is a brief overview of the work of David Huron.

David Huron has a theory. People who enjoy sorrowful music are experiencing the consoling effects of prolactin, a hormone that is usually associated with pregnancy and lactation but that the body also releases when we’re sad or weeping. People who can’t bear listening to sad music, Huron conjectures, don’t get that prolactin rush when they hear Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings or Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game. They just feel blue. . .

. . .  This is why, he conjectures, the people who like listening to sad music are getting that shot of prolactin, and the people who hate listening to it aren’t. The study is still in progress. . . 

If this hypothesis proves out, it might explain Dave Barry's hilarious antipathy to the music of Barry Manilow, which his wife loves.

. . . Yes, love will make a man do many things. But sometimes a man’s love is sorely tested by a woman. Here I am using the term “a woman” in the sense of “my wife.” Recently, out of the blue, she asked me to do something that was truly repugnant to me, something that violates one of the two fundamental moral principles by which I have lived my life (the other one is, never drink light beer).

She asked me to go to a Barry Manilow concert. . . 

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