Navigation Links
Why we buy music
Date:4/11/2013

A new study reveals what happens in our brain when we decide to purchase a piece of music when we hear it for the first time. The study, conducted at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital The Neuro, McGill University and published in the journal Science on April 12, pinpoints the specific brain activity that makes new music rewarding and predicts the decision to purchase music.

Participants in the study listened to 60 previously unheard music excerpts while undergoing functional resonance imaging (fMRI) scanning, providing bids of how much they were willing to spend for each item in an auction paradigm. "When people listen to a piece of music they have never heard before, activity in one brain region can reliably and consistently predict whether they will like or buy it, this is the nucleus accumbens which is involved in forming expectations that may be rewarding," says lead investigator Dr. Valorie Salimpoor, who conducted the research in Dr. Robert Zatorre's lab at The Neuro and is now at Baycrest Health Sciences' Rotman Research Institute. "What makes music so emotionally powerful is the creation of expectations. Activity in the nucleus accumbens is an indicator that expectations were met or surpassed, and in our study we found that the more activity we see in this brain area while people are listening to music, the more money they are willing to spend."

[Listen to the music excerpts used in the study: http://www.zlab.mcgill.ca/science2013/]

The second important finding is that the nucleus accumbens doesn't work alone, but interacts with the auditory cortex, an area of the brain that stores information about the sounds and music we have been exposed to. The more a given piece was rewarding, the greater the cross-talk 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 and reward value to stimuli.

In other words, the brain assigns value to music through the interaction of ancient dopaminergic reward circuitry, involved in reinforcing behaviours that are absolutely necessary for our survival such as eating and sex, with some of the most evolved regions of the brain, involved in advanced cognitive processes that are unique to humans.

"This is interesting because music consists of a series of sounds that when considered alone have no inherent value, but when arranged together through patterns over time can act as a reward, says Dr. Robert Zatorre, researcher at The Neuro and co-director of the International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research. "The integrated activity of brain circuits involved in pattern recognition, prediction, and emotion allow us to experience music as an aesthetic or intellectual reward."

"The brain activity in each participant was the same when they were listening to music that they ended up purchasing, although the pieces they chose to buy were all different," adds Dr. Salimpoor. "These results help us to see why people like different music each person has their own uniquely shaped auditory cortex, which is formed based on all the sounds and music heard throughout our lives. Also, the sound templates we store are likely to have previous emotional associations."

An innovative aspect of this study is how closely it mimics real-life music-listening experiences. Researchers used a similar interface and prices as iTunes. To replicate a real life scenario as much as possible and to assess reward value objectively, individuals could purchase music with their own money, as an indication that they wanted to hear it again. Since musical preferences are influenced by past associations, only novel music excerpts were selected (to minimize explicit predictions) using music recommendation software (such as Pandora, Last.fm) to reflect individual preferences.

The interactions between nucleus accumbens and the auditory cortex suggest that we create expectations of how musical sounds should unfold based on what is learned and stored in our auditory cortex, and our emotions result from the violation or fulfillment of these expectations. We are constantly making reward-related predictions to survive, and this study provides neurobiological evidence that we also make predictions when listening to an abstract stimulus, music, even if we have never heard the music before. Pattern recognition and prediction of an otherwise simple set of stimuli, when arranged together become so powerful as to make us happy or bring us to tears, as well as communicate and experience some of the most intense, complex emotions and thoughts.


'/>"/>

Contact: Anita Kar
anita.kar@mcgill.ca
514-398-3376
McGill University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Early music lessons boost brain development
2. Birdsong study pecks theory that music is uniquely human
3. Music with dinner: Whales sing during foraging season, not just while breeding
4. Musical duets lock brains as well as rhythms
5. The music of the silks
6. Music to the Ears for a Good Nights Sleep?
7. Music to the ears for a good nights sleep?
8. Fast food restaurant lighting and music can reduce calorie intake and increase satisfaction
9. New musical pacifier helps premature babies get healthy
10. The music of the (hemi)spheres sheds new light on schizophrenia
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/22/2016)... OTTAWA, Ontario , PROVO ... 2016 Newborn Screening Ontario (NSO), which operates ... for molecular testing, and Tute Genomics and ... process management technology respectively, today announced the launch of ... new next-generation sequencing (NGS) testing panel. ...
(Date:3/17/2016)... 2016 ABI Research, the leader in ... biometrics market will reach more than $30 billion ... 2015. Consumer electronics, particularly smartphones, continue to boost ... to reach two billion shipments by 2021 at ... , Research Analyst at ABI Research. "Surveillance is ...
(Date:3/14/2016)... Florida , March 14, 2016 ... the growing mobile commerce market, announces the airing of a ... channels starting the week of March 21 st .  The ... CNBC, including its popular Squawk on the Street show. ... focused on the growing mobile commerce market, announces the airing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... After several ... Inc. at the City of Knowledge in Panama, a 6 year-old Duchenne’s ... the US earlier this year following FDA approval of a second application for ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... , ... Lajollacooks4u has become a rising hotspot for specialized team building events ... attractions. Fortune 500 companies, such as Illumina, Hewlett-Packard, Qualcomm and Elsevier, have traveled ... , Each event kicks off with an olive oil and salt-tasting competition. From ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... Founder of the Fitzmaurice Hand ... and surgery of the hand by the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons, ... and beyond in his pursuit of providing the most comprehensive, effective treatment for ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... CITY, UTAH. (PRWEB) , ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... in healthcare information exchange, today announced that Charles W. Stellar has been named by ... WEDI’s interim CEO since January 2016. As an executive leader with more than 35 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: