Scientists are still working to understand the different effects of music on the human brain, but a recent study at McGill University suggests we are one step closer to solving those mysteries. Using MRI machines, scientists have found that playing new music activates the “Reward” section of your brain.
“To carry out the study, which took place at the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University, the scientists played 19 volunteers 60 excerpts of new music, based on their musical preferences.
As they were listening to the 30-second-long tracks, they had to the opportunity to buy the ones they liked in a mocked up online music store. All of this was carried out while the participants were lying in an MRI machine.
By analysing the scans, the scientists found that the nucleus accumbens was “lighting up” and depending on the level of activity, the researchers could predict whether the participant was likely to buy a song.”
It’s scary notion to think that scientists can now predict the type of music we enjoy. Dr Salimpoor went on to explain that “This part of the brain will be unique for each individual, because we’ve all heard different music in the past.” Regardless, this is an important step forward in understanding how music affects the mind. Scientists are now using this data to help discover what drives our musical tastes and why different people enjoy different genre’s of music.
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-Nick Ward @NickWard20