Ever had goosebumps or felt euphoric chills when listening to a piece of music? If so, your brain is reacting to the music in the same way as it would to some delicious food or a psychoactive drug such as cocaine, according to scientists.
The experience of pleasure is mediated in all these situations by the release of the brain's reward chemical, dopamine, according to results of experiments carried out by a team led by Valorie Salimpoor of McGill University in Montreal, which are published Sunday in Nature Neuroscience...
It also hints at why music has been so valued and important throughout human history and across cultures, says neuroscientist Robert Zatorre, who leads the McGill team at the Montreal Neurological Institute.
"Music has such deep roots in the brain that it engages this biologically ancient system," says Zatorre, explaining how dopamine generates the sensation of pleasure in the striatum, a primitive region deep in the brain.