When the brain’s auditory system and its reward region communicate with each other, humans automatically have a satisfying feeling when they hear music.
Research on Brain Activity Hearing Music through Neuroimages
In studies on neuroimages, there have been similar findings between the way the brain’s reward circuits process music and other rewards such as alcohol, food, and money. But these neuroimage studies are correlated with nature. A recent study researched these circuits by stimulating the brain without using invasive techniques.
One test group of pop music fans listened to a series of pop songs, while the researchers measured their brain activity using fMRI. Before the scan, the team indirectly stimulated or restricted the brain’s reward circuit using transcranial magnetic stimulation.
Getting the reward circuit excited, before hearing the music, increased the pleasure that test subjects felt as they listened to the songs, while any restrictions decreased pleasure. The induced pleasure changes were connected to changes in activity for the nucleus accumbens, which is a main region in the reward circuit. Test subjects who had the biggest difference in pleasure also showed a wide range of differences in synchronized activity between auditory and reward regions. This demonstrates the interactions between auditory and reward regions that generate pleasure we feel when listening to music.
If you, or a loved one, aren’t enjoying music as much as you used to, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aid styles that feature Bluetooth®, so you can stream music directly through your hearing aids and control your volume settings with your smartphone.