Volunteers were offered to listen to music, while their brain activity was monitored. After their brain scans were analyzed, it was found that when listening to songs they liked their brain activity in the so-called nucleus accumbens increased. The same occurs while having sex or eating delicious food.
“We knew that the nucleus accumbens is associated with the reward. But music is an abstract concept. Listening to music does not feel like when you are hungry and getting ready to eat, being happy about it, or when you are having sex, or when you are taking money. In such cases we do expect activity in this brain region. Now, the striking fact is that the same thing happens with something as abstract as music. We look forward to the next sound and activate the reward center,” says Valorie Salimpoor, scientist at the Neurological Institute of Toronto, where the study was conducted.
“Even before the volunteers said what they thought about music, we knew the answer since their brains were ‘betraying’ their opinion” says Salimpour.
The results of the study were published in the journal «Science».