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Sex, Drugs and Rock N Roll

September 27, 2007

Listening to our favorite music activates the same region of the brain that is involved in drug addiction.


What sex, drugs & rock n’ roll have in common. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Most people have a song that makes them feel happy. But what causes such a good mood? The answer lies deep within the brain, according to musician and cognitive neuroscientist Daniel Levitin. He and his colleagues at McGill University found that when people listen to their favorite music, the neuro chemical dopamine activates a region of the brain called the pleasure center. He says the same area is activated when people do drugs, have sex, or even eat certain foods like chocolate.

DAN LEVITIN (McGill University):
We played people music they liked and we found activation in exactly the same structures. In a way, you can think of it as a kind of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll center of the brain. There really is this neurochemical change. It really does alter mood.

So, if you ever thought music was addictive, you might not be too far off the mark. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.