Music is like sex to the brain

June 30, 2011 | By | 1 Reply More

New study on the pleasures of music reported by Discover Magazine:

[M]usic can activate the same reward circuits in the brain as food and sex.
Participants listened to their songs of choice in a PET scanner, which detects the release of the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine, and again in an fMRI scanner, which measures brain activity. The scans showed that just before feeling enjoyable chills in response to the music, listeners experienced a dopamine rush near the frontal striatum, a brain region associated with anticipating rewards, followed by a flood of dopamine in the rear striatum, the brain’s pleasure center. “It’s like you’re craving the next note,” Salimpoor says.

Here’s the study. I’ve also noted from my “anthropological” visits to Christian churches (here, for example), that people tend to sense the presence of Jesus during those emotional peaks that occur in the middle of religious music.  You can tell, because people start waving their hands in the air during those emotion-inducing parts of the music.  I’ve also noticed that Jesus becomes more intense when a song modulates to a new key.  Seems that Jesus likes the same aspects of music as his human worshipers.


Category: music, Psychology Cognition, Religion

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    And music to a synesthete can be a mind trip!

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