Feeds

Official: music is a brain stimulating drug

I got chills, they're multiplying

Build a business case: developing custom apps

We all know our favourite tunes are pleasurable, but scientists have dug deep and discovered music can actually be a drug that stimulates the release of pleasure chemicals in our brain.

A study from scholars at McGill University in Canada suggests the anticipation of our favourite passage can be all the stimulation needed for releasing neurochemical dopamine.

To determine this, researchers studied the instances where music makes a listener's hairs stand up - moments known as "chills". These chills apparently involve a "clear and discrete pattern of autonomic nervous system arousal", the report says. Of course, some people are more susceptible to the effects than others.

Some 200-odd people responded to an advertisement that sought "chill-susceptible" music lovers and were asked to name ten tracks that make them tick. The genres included tango, techno, punk, rock, electronica, jazz, folk and classical.

The entrants took a questionnaire to see how authentic these chills were and then went through a screening test. This process narrowed the group down to ten individuals, who were subsequently scanned over two sessions.

Anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music

Get your head around that
Source: Nature Neuroscience

Participants listened to music they decided was pleasurable or felt neutral about, recording the number and intensity of chills they experienced, while noting the degree of pleasure felt from each piece.

As all this happened, the boffins were watching their brains through an MRI scan.

The results showed dopamine release was restricted to moments before and during the chills.

The research proves that the pleasure we get from listening to music is closely linked with dopamine release and why it's so effectively deployed in rituals, marketing and film.

I suppose if the report is anything to go by, it's no wonder so many musicians go onto harder and stronger substances when the music no longer gives them a fix. Does that mean our downloads can be dangerously addictive? Perhaps we'd need another study to figure that one out. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.