Fifty years ago, the only way to listen to music privately was to make sure that there wasn't anyone else around. Then came the headphone revolultion, first amongst audiophiles and later (thanks largely to the Sony Walkman) the general public. Now everyone uses headphones.
This brings me to an interesting article in The Atlantic. How has headphone use changed our behaviour and our relationship with music?
It's not just that headphones carve privacy out of public spaces. It is also that music causes us to relax and reflect and pause. The outcome of relaxation, reflection, and pausing won't be captured in minute-to-minute productivity metrics. In moments of extreme focus, our attention beams outward, toward the problem, rather than inward, toward the insights."When our minds are at ease -- when those alpha waves are rippling through the brain -- we're more likely to direct the spotlight of attention inward," Jonah Lehrer wrote in Imagine. "The answers have been there all along. We just weren't listening."
Read the whole thing--including a history of headphone technology--here.