Music Boosts Dopamine for a Natural High Says New Study

Filed in Gather Technology News Channel by on January 9, 2011 0 Comments

We already know that listening to our favorite songs can make us feel good. A new study from researchers at Montreal’s McGill University has shown why.

Dopamine is that chemical in our brain that’s associated with the pleasure we get from eating a hot fudge sundae, or the feelings of euphoria derived from illegal drugs. Results of the new study show that music has the power to stimulate dopamine production and bring on a natural high.

Dopamine PathwaysVolunteers that were chosen for the study were those who claimed to be able to feel chills while listening to their favorite instrumentals.

PET and MRI brain scans were employed to measure volunteers’ emotional responses as they listened. Interestingly enough, the researchers found that not only was there an increase in dopamine production in the region of the brain called the striatum when the high point of the tune was reached, but there was also an increase in the 15 seconds leading up to the thrilling moment of the piece. That anticipation factor begs some interesting questions.

Will we get more of a natural high from listening to music that we’re already familiar with and if so, do memories associated with having heard a tune before influence the chemical reaction?

Among the tunes that participants chose as favorites were classical selections like Debussy’s Claire De Lune, Led Zeppelin’s classic rock instrumental Moby Dick and the jazzy standard Misty, along with folk, tango and even techno tunes.

Do any of these instrumentals help you get your groove on?

Photo source: Wikimedia

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