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‘Music Chills’: How your favorite songs put your brain into ‘pleasure overload’



BESANCON, France – At one point or another, we all went through that thrill when our favorite song was on the radio. It can change your whole mood, especially when the “moment” in each song comes out and chills your spine. So what is the cause of this hair pulling on the system? Brain studies show that many people get overwhelmed when their favorite tunes begin to play, French researchers say.

Researcher Thibault Chabin and a team at the University of Bourgogne Franche-Comté examined the brains of 18 people who frequently experience chills while listening to music. After answering a questionnaire about their level of interest in music, each volunteer was given an EEG.

“Our study participants were able to accurately pinpoint ̵

6;chilling’ moments in songs, but most musical chills occurred in parts of the song,” said Chabin. excerpts and not just in predictive moments. “

What’s going on in your brain?

Study authors discovered specific electrical activity in the facial cortex before music lovers felt chills. This area is involved in emotional processing. There is also more activity in the complementary motor area and the right temporal lobe, which processes hearing and music sensing on the right side of the brain.

All of these regions work together to help people process music, stimulate the brain’s reward centers and release the “feel good” hormone dopamine. When you combine these responses with the delightful expectations of hearing your favorite chord in a song, the result is a chill. This is a response to greater connectivity in the brain.

“The fact that we can measure this phenomenon with an EEG offers research opportunities in other contexts, in more natural situations and in groups,” said Turbine. “This represents a good point for studying musical emotions.”

‘Ancestor function for music’

The brain scan that each participant goes through is a non-invasive process that reads the electrical currents caused by brain activity. The researchers placed sensors on the scalp of each music lover to measure theta activity. These low frequency electrical signals are a type of impulse associated with memory performance and musical appreciation.

“In contrast to heavy neural imaging techniques such as PET scan or fMRI, classical EEG can be transferred out of the lab into natural scenarios,” said Turbine. “The most fascinating thing is that music doesn’t seem to have any biological benefit to us. However, the implications of dopamine and the reward system in the handling of music pleasure reveal an ancestral function towards music. “

The study authors believe that this music-associated genetic function may reveal the brain’s ability to predict future events. When people wait for something they know to come, the brain releases more dopamine.

The study appeared in the journal Borders in neuroscience.




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