We all know that certain pieces of music can evoke strong emotional responses in people. Now, a research team from Canada’s McGill University has uncovered evidence that reveals exactly what causes such feelings of euphoria and ecstasy and why music is so important in human society. Using a combination of brain scanning technologies, the study has shown that the same neurotransmitter which is associated with feeling pleasure from sex and food is released in the brain when listening to good music.

That humans can derive intense pleasure from such things as food, drugs, money and sex is well known. All of these feelings of reward generally involve the activity of a certain neurotransmitter in the brain – dopamine. It’s a mechanism that’s necessary for survival, caused by psychoactive drugs or by tangible items which offer secondary rewards of some kind.

Abstract external stimuli, like music or art, can often trigger heightened pleasure responses in people, even though they can’t be thought of as vital for survival or the result of conditioned reinforcement. They are perceived as being rewarding rather than actually having a direct or chemical influence.

  1. Mr Ed says:

    I’m pretty sure that *rap “music” causes brain hemorages.

    * some say it is spelled crap, but the “c” is silent…

  2. admfubar says:

    for the RIAA it is the sound of how much money it can extract from the artists and the consumers

  3. Uncle Patso says:

    Excuse me while I start up some music!

    Let’s see, where shall I start? Beethoven? Stravinsky? Miles Davis? Joao Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim?

  4. msbpodcast says:

    Anyone know why the Taliban were banning music at every occasion?

    Because music is pleasurable and Mullah Omar is a total paternalistic prick.

    I’m a music omnivore and my iPod holds about 14,100 tunes of all genres, plus all my podcasts, and I still have 450+ vinyl records not digitized yet.

    Mullah Omar can suck my dick while I stick a couple of screwdrivers in the holes at the sides of his head…

    And Mr. Ed, any music can leave your ears in a bloody mess.

    I may be a music onmivore but I still remember Dr. Sam’l Johnson’s observation that “music is merely the least unpleasant noise.

  5. bobbo, it was said long ago that music is the language of love says:

    and now we can even measure it. Science marches on. I look forward to the day dopamine is sold as a condiment–should make those McNuggets even taste better?

  6. dadeo says:

    bobbo emoted:

    and now we can even measure it. Science marches on. I look forward to the day dopamine is sold as a condiment–should make those McNuggets even taste better?

    Perhaps closer examination of McD’s Dipping Sauce ingredients will yield a clue? Gotta be something not on the menu making people crowd into that place.

  7. bobbo, democracy means being subjected to the idiocy of the majority says:

    dadeo–according to 60 min type show last night==its the toys that go with Happy Meals. Little kiddies can’t resist and parents too flustered to raise the rug rats right.

    Actually, I support State Fascism outlawing Hidden Persuaders targeting kiddies, retards, and republicans. We do have to protect the innocent and help those too incompetent to help themselves.

  8. Heinrich Moltke says:

    This article, like most science news, is garbage.

    So dopamine is released while listening to music: big deal.

    So we know everything there is about music now? About the brain? Does this tell us something essential?

    No. It tells us dopamine is involved — but doesn’t tell us what else is. It doesn’t tell us anything other than that there’s dopamine where there is pleasure.

    Science news today is the source for some of the worst journalism. Period.


Bad Behavior has blocked 13832 access attempts in the last 7 days.