Whether it’s Rhianna, reggae or Rachmaninoff – scientists say listening to music we love evokes the same euphoric effect as good food, a windfall...and even sex
Whether it’s Rhianna, reggae or Rachmaninoff, listening to music we love evokes the same euphoric effect as good food, a windfall…and even sex.
We all have our favourite song, be it an old classic, the latest radio play or a symphony, but scientists now believe listening to music evokes feelings of euphoria, similar to those induced by sex.
Scientists at McGill University in Montreal claim that listening to a much-loved piece of music, triggers a pleasure experience in the brain driven by the chemical dopamine. This helps nerve cells communicate with each other and gives us that feel-good release.
The study involved giving volunteers MRI brain scans whilst listening to music. These revealed that at ‘peak emotional arousal’ the parts of the brain linked to pleasure start to release dopamine.
The goosebumps that we might get from listening to a great piece of music are one of the physical effects of dopamine, which also include changes in heart rate, breathing, temperature and the way the skin conducts electricity, known as ‘chills’.
The research suggests that dopamine release is greatest when we experience a strong emotional response to music, in the same way we might to enjoyable food, a large amount of money or sex.
The researchers say: ‘If music-induced emotional states can lead to dopamine release, as our findings indicate, it may begin to explain why musical experiences are so valued.’
So what do you think? Can music ever beat sex? Does your favourite song take you to great heights of pleasure?! Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.