Music in autochthonous societies often plays a role in evoking ecstatic experience and trance. This is often achieved through a combination of intense exertion and musical expression such as dance and music-making. My research group has recreated this experience for experimental examination, combining exhausting gym workouts and music jams (“jymmin”). Our findings show that this is a highly effective method for evoking the experience of euphoria, one with a variety of therapeutic applications.
Tom Fritz leads the research group Music Evoked Brain Plasticity at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig. After receiving a degree in neuropsychology from the Max Planck Institute, he worked briefly at the Harvard Medical School on the neuroscience of music. Returning to Germany, Fritz started to study fine arts at the Academy of Arts, Berlin, while pursuing a PhD in music and emotion at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences. In addition to music and brain plasticity, Fritz investigates the universals and cultural specifics of music perception and the application of music therapy in clinical environments.