All music lovers here knew it already, didn’t you?
In case you are wondering what you should do to overcome a depressive episode or a stressful day, listen to music. And in case you are wondering about the authenticity of music as a remedy, we have actual scientists that researched about this. No kidding.
A new study suggests that a positive response occurs because music activates a chemical reward system in your brain. This system makes the music feel good, just like drugs or food.
Music is one thing that humans have had with them since forever. Over the ages, humans have experimented with different kinds of music and as a result, we have something for everyone’s palette. To study this phenomenon, researchers surveyed people’s feelings, scanned the brains of performers and listeners and measured the release of hormones. It was found that the enjoyment we feel while listening to music comes from the neurological reward system which works the same way for a drug-induced high.
The study also talks about some effects that can manifest negativity. This high can lead to unhealthy behavior such as stress-eating or addiction. The only way to get rid of these desires might be to control the high.
Naltrexone is a drug used to reverse the effects of opioids and is used against alcohol dependence and opioid dependence. Scientists have previously tested drugs such as naltrexone and naloxone, to show that they reduce feelings of pleasure after physical activity and eating, and hence, are used to treat alcohol and opioid dependence. Now, a new study has tested the effect of naltrexone on musical enjoyment.
Researchers at McGill University instructed some students to choose the pieces of music that they loved or gave them goosebumps. Then, these students received naltrexone. An hour later, the students listened to their chosen music, as well as two “neutral” songs that the scientists selected, and the students used a slider to indicate their level of pleasure, while sensors measured electrical activity in their facial muscles. The researchers found that participants moved their facial muscles less with naltrexone in their system, indicating that it had reduced their emotional response to what they were hearing.
Both the negative and positive emotions were tested this way, and a same pattern was observed for the two. With the sliders which measured the level of pleasure, it was found that when a subject had taken naltrexone, they felt less pleasure while listening to their favourite song and the feelings about the scientists’ chosen songs was unaffected.
This effect of naltrexone is also seen in the pleasure associated with exercise, food, and drugs which further supports the theory that the same reward system in the brain is responsible for our reactions to all of them.
However, the research was only done for 15 students and the final results with a wide demographic might vary, this sure say something that we can believe. Music is your new brand of drug.
Quit drugs, get high on music.