Mood music – Can our favourite tunes really make us feel better?
According to a recent study conducted by researchers from McGill University in Montreal, listening to music can release a mood enhancing chemical into to the brain, helping to set good moods.
The chemical in question is Dopamine, which is known to produce a feel good response to stimuli such as love, food, money etc.
The study involved scanning the brains of eight volunteers over three sessions, using two different kinds of scan.
The first type of scan is a nuclear medicine imaging known as PET, and this technique was used for the first two scans. For the first scan session the volunteers listened to music which they really enjoyed and in the second scan they listened to music to which they were indifferent.
The third scan session involved both music tracks from the previous two scans being played alternately, whilst a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan was taken.
The results revealed that levels of dopamine were found to be up to 9 per cent higher when the volunteers were listening to music which they enjoyed.
Authors of the report have said this study is significant in proving that pleasure can be obtained from listening to music which is comparable to the pleasure obtained from basic biological stimuli.