“Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll” isn’t just a hedonistic lifestyle choice anymore, it’s also cold, hard scientific fact. Rock ‘n’ roll!
A study undertaken by researchers at Montreal’s McGill University has shown that opioid receptors are triggered by music.
The researchers gave participants of the study the drug naltrexone, which blocks the brain’s opioid receptors. Participants then listened to some of their favourite music – and found they were no longer able to derive any pleasure from it. Conversely, participants were also played music which they previous hated, only to find their strong feelings of anger had been dulled.
Both results indicate that opioid receptors are key to deriving pleasure – or any strong emotional response – from music. At last, you know which part of your brain to blame for liking that B*Witched song so much!
The study – with the very rock ‘n’ roll title of Anhedonia to music and mu-opioids: Evidence from the administration of naltrexone – could prove to be a groundbreaking one.
Daniel Levitin, the study’s senior author notes, “This is the first demonstration that the brain’s own opioids are directly involved in musical pleasure.”