The old adage “sex, drugs and rock’n’roll” apparently has never been more true. Scientists have discovered a reason why these three things go so well (and so often) together.
The same part of our brain that produces feelings of pleasure after having sex, taking recreational drugs or eating nice food also produces the same feelings when we listen to music we like.
The theory was also tested – scientists have blocked the natural opioid substances that our brain produces when we’re enjoying ourselves, and the test subjects, seventeen of them, were played music afterwards to see the effects.
Dr Daniel Levitin, a neuroscientist at McGill University in Canada as well as a musician and record producer, said: “The impressions our participants shared with us after the experiment were fascinating.
“One said: ‘I know this is my favourite song but it doesn’t feel like it usually does’.
“Another admitted: ‘It sounds pretty, but it’s not doing anything for me’.”
He added that this was the first time it had been shown conclusively that opioids in the brain were “directly involved in musical pleasure”.
Activities that stimulate this chemical system in the brain, such as drinking alcohol, having sex, gambling and taking drugs can lead to damaging addictive behavior. Understanding the processes involved in this could possibly lead to new ways in treating addictions, which is why this research is very important.
The researchers found that music influenced the emotions of humans so strongly that it makes it probable humans have evolved to like music over a long period of time.