Neuroscience

Pleasure from music

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Science  26 Jul 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6451, pp. 338-339
DOI: 10.1126/science.365.6451.338-g

Music is often pleasurable, but perceptions may be influenced by brain physiology.

PHOTO: CAIAIMAGE/TOM MERTON/GETTY IMAGES

Music can bring great joy to our lives, yet the extent to which humans find music pleasurable varies greatly. Several brain regions have been suggested to play a role in music perception, but we do not yet understand how they connect. Martínez-Molina et al. looked at brain areas such as the superior temporal gyrus, nucleus accumbens, and the orbitofrontal cortex known to be involved in experiencing reward and integration of information. They found differences in the microstructure of white-matter pathways between these brain regions in healthy adults. When the relationship of these pathways with the individuals' specific musical sensibility was tested, the authors concluded that details of the structure of the white-matter pathways influences the extent to which individuals perceive music as pleasurable.

J. Neurosci. 39, 5018 (2019).

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