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Brain find rewarding new music: study

New music activates the brain region linked to the expectation of reward, according to a new study.

The study, conducted at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – The Neuro, McGill University reveals what happens in our brain when we decided to buy a piece of music after hearing it for the first time.

The study participants listened to 60 musical excerpts unpublished while undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) functional exploration. “When people hear a piece of music you have never heard before, activity in a brain region can be predicted reliably and consistently whether you like it or buy it, this is the nucleus accumbens, which is involved in the formation of expectations can be rewarding, “said lead researcher Dr Valorie Salimpoor.

“What makes music so emotionally powerful is the creation of expectations. Activity in the nucleus accumbens is an indicator that the expectations were met or exceeded, and in our study we found that the increased activity we see in this brain area while people are listening to music, the more money you are willing to spend, “said Salimpoor.

The second important conclusion is that the nucleus accumbens does not work alone, but interacts with the auditory cortex, a brain area that stores information about the sounds and music that have been exposed.

The longer a piece given was gratifying, the greater the interference between these regions. Similar interactions were also seen between the nucleus accumbens and other brain areas involved in high-level sequencing, complex pattern recognition and areas involved in assigning emotional value and reward to stimuli.

In other words, the brain assigns value to the music through the interaction of the dopaminergic reward circuitry old, involved in the reinforcement of the behaviors that are absolutely necessary for our survival as eating and sex, with some of the most developed brain, involved in advanced cognitive processes that are unique to humans.

“This is interesting because the music consists of a series of sounds that, when considered alone have no inherent value, but when arranged together through patterns in time can act as a reward,” said Dr. Robert Zatorre researcher in the Neuro and co-director of the International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research.

“The integrated activity in brain circuits involved in pattern recognition, prediction, and emotion allows us to experience music as an aesthetic or intellectual reward,” says Zatorre. “These findings help us understand why people like different music – each person has their own unique way auditory cortex, which is formed on the basis of all sounds and music heard through our lives as well, sound templates store is likely to have earlier. emotional associations, “said Salimpoor