Monday, January 10, 2011

Rock and Roll Music Chills Related to Dopamine Release from Brain

Remember that latest release from the Black Eyed Peas and the chills you had when you first heard that song?

Well, those chills are  from a dopamine release from you brain - complex neural chemistry.

Did Pavarotti finishing Nessun Dorma give you chills? If so, you can thank the molecule dopamine for those shudders of delight. Because a new study shows that musical thrills stem from the same brain chemistry responsible for the joys of food, sex and other more tangible rewards. The work appears in the journal Nature Neuroscience. Valorie Salimpoor et al, Anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music.

The paper is here.

Music, an abstract stimulus, can arouse feelings of euphoria and craving, similar to tangible rewards that involve the striatal dopaminergic system. Using the neurochemical specificity of [11C]raclopride positron emission tomography scanning, combined with psychophysiological measures of autonomic nervous system activity, we found endogenous dopamine release in the striatum at peak emotional arousal during music listening. To examine the time course of dopamine release, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging with the same stimuli and listeners, and found a functional dissociation: the caudate was more involved during the anticipation and the nucleus accumbens was more involved during the experience of peak emotional responses to music. These results indicate that intense pleasure in response to music can lead to dopamine release in the striatal system. Notably, the anticipation of an abstract reward can result in dopamine release in an anatomical pathway distinct from that associated with the peak pleasure itself. Our results help to explain why music is of such high value across all human societies.

Now, can anyone explain why some artists deliver more chills and dopamine?

I suppose if the music industry were to discover this, music would lose its mystery and variety - perhaps?