Conflict Concert? Dispute Ditty? Mediation Minuet? Can the Speech of Angels Lead to Agreement?

Neuroscience and Conflict Resolution Blog by Stephanie West Allen

Music is well said to be the speech of angels; in fact, nothing among the utterances allowed to man is felt to be so divine. It brings us near to the infinite. –Thomas Carlyle

It’s been a while since I last blogged about the role of music in conflict resolution. But I was reminded of its potential by a recent piece of research done by Daniel Levitin. Dr. Levitin and his colleague Mona Lisa Chanda analyzed many scientific papers and derived some conclusions about the benefits of music. The abstract of "The neurochemistry of music" (Cell):
Music is used to regulate mood and arousal in everyday life and to promote physical and psychological health and well-being in clinical settings. However, scientific inquiry into the neurochemical effects of music is still in its infancy. In this review, we evaluate the evidence that music improves health and well-being through the engagement of neurochemical systems for (i) reward, motivation, and pleasure; (ii) stress and arousal; (iii) immunity; and (iv) social affiliation. We discuss the limitations of these studies and outline novel approaches for integration of conceptual and technological advances from the fields of music cognition and social neuroscience into studies of the neurochemistry of music.

Obviously reward, motivation, pleasure, stress, arousal, and social affiliation are basic ingredients in dispute resolution. This is why many of us believe in the strong potential of music in the management or resolution of conflicts.

For more about the research, read "Can Music Be More Effective Than Drugs?" (io9). Excerpt:

According to a new analysis of 400 published scientific papers, the old adage that “music is medicine” may literally be true. Canadian psychologists from McGill University have shown that the neurochemical benefits of music can boost the body’s immune system, reduce anxiety, and help regulate mood. The time has come, say the researchers, for doctors and therapists to start taking music much more seriously.

Mediators, too?

                        author

Stephanie West Allen

Stephanie West Allen, JD, practiced law in California for several years, held offices in local bar associations, and wrote chapters for California Continuing Education of the Bar. While in CA, Stephanie completed several five-day mediation training programs with the Center for Mediation in Law, as well as a two-year intensive… MORE >

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