Why some songs give you pleasure akin to sex, drugs

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Daniel Levitin

Toronto– The brain-chemical system that is linked to pleasure while listening to one’s favourite song also draws pleasure from sex and recreational drugs as well as lip-smacking food, shows a recent study.

The findings demonstrated that the brain’s own opioids are directly involved in musical pleasure.

Daniel Levitin

In the study, when the researchers prescribed naltrexone — a drug widely used for treating addiction disorders — the participants no longer elicited feelings of pleasure for their favourite songs.

“This is the first demonstration that the brain’s own opioids are directly involved in musical pleasure,” said Daniel Levitin, cognitive psychologist at McGill University in Canada, in the paper published in the journal Scientific Reports.

The universality of music and its ability to deeply affect emotions suggest an evolutionary origin, and the new findings add to the growing body of evidence for the evolutionary biological substrates of music, the researchers said.

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