By Amanda Wicks
A new study has given fresh meaning to the phrase, “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.” Montreal’s McGill University released new findings that music can produce the same high listeners might experience after having sex or taking drugs.
The study’s participants took naltrexone, which blocks the brain’s opioid receptors and produces anhedonia, or the inability to feel pleasure. Participants then listened to some of their favorite music and found they didn’t feel the same level of pleasure they might otherwise have.
Interestingly, the study also affected how the brain responded to music listeners normally detested. When participants listened to songs they disliked, they didn’t feel the same degree of hate. Daniel Levitin, the study’s senior author and the author of This is Your Brain on Music said, “This is the first demonstration that the brain’s own opioids are directly involved in musical pleasure” (via Scientific Reports).
Levitin added that the findings matched what they had hypothesized, but things got even more interesting when participants began to share anecdotes with researchers. “One said: ‘I know this is my favourite song but it doesn’t feel like it usually does,'” Levitin stated. “Another: ‘It sounds pretty, but it’s not doing anything for me.'”