This is Your Brain. This is Your Brain on Sound.

Remember back in the ‘90s when people thought that listening to Mozart while studying would help with test performance? While some studies have disproved this theory, listening to music is still considered to be effective in recalling memories. In fact, music therapy can help Alzheimer’s patients recall memories and even restore cognitive function.

When you listen to music you’re familiar with, it stimulates the hippocampus, which handles long-term storage in the brain. It can help you remember what you were doing or where you were when you were listening to that song. So it’s really not much of a stretch to use music as a strategy to help you remember something.


Beyond the cognitive benefits of music therapy, think about how sounds in general affect your mood. The sound of a police or ambulance siren often incites a negative feeling, while the pitter patter of rain drops on the roof can be soothing and relaxing.

In 2012, the Drayton Manor Theme Park in the United Kingdom commissioned a survey of their nation’s favorite – and least favorite – sounds. The Daily Telegraph reported the results:


  1. Waves against rocks
  2. Rain against the windows
  3. Treading on snow
  4. Baby laughing
  5. Birds chirping
  6. Crackling open fire
  7. People laughing
  8. Leaves crunching beneath your feet
  9. Cat purring
  10. Church bells in the distance


  1. Nails on a chalk board
  2. Someone being sick
  3. Car alarm
  4. A dentist’s drill
  5. Someone spitting
  6. A yapping dog
  7. Screaming baby/children
  8. Someone talking with their mouth full
  9. Someone grinding their teeth
  10. Someone’s knife grinding on a plate

What are your favorite sounds?

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