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Study shows music stimulates the same part of the brain as sex and drugs

Thanks, science!

A new study undertaken at McGill University in Canada has found that music stimulates the same part of the brain as sex, drugs and food.

Test subjects were given a drug called naxedrone, blocking the brain's opioid system, which usually gives pleasure and helps prevent pain. Opiates such as morphine and heroin, along with peptides found in food, to give the same effect by interacting with the brain's opioid receptors.

After administering the naxedrone, researchers had the 17 subjects listen to their favourite songs. All of the subjects reported not experiencing the same feelings of pleasure as usual, saying things such as, “I know this is my favourite song but it doesn’t feel like it usually does,” and “It sounds pretty, but it’s not doing anything for me.”

Cognitive psychologist, Daniel Levitin, the senior author of the study, explained the results, saying: “This is the first demonstration that the brain’s own opioids are directly involved in musical pleasure." The full paper is available from the Scientific Reports Journal.