The brain's favorite type of music

The brain's favorite type of music
Predictability and uncertainty in the pleasure of music: a reward for learning? Credit: Gold et al., JNeurosci (2019)

People prefer songs with only a moderate amount of uncertainty and unpredictability, according to research recently published in JNeurosci.

Scientists have long struggled to understand why activities of little apparent evolutionary value, like listening to music, bring so much pleasure. Previous studies have linked listening to and making predictions about with activation in reward centers of the brain but have produced conflicting results on how musical predictions and surprises relate to pleasure.

Gold et al. employed a to determine the predictability and uncertainty of musical fragments and then asked listeners to rate how much they liked the songs.

Listeners preferred songs of medium complexity, such as those that counterbalanced uncertain expectations with ultimately predictable musical events. Conversely, songs affording more certain expectations could contain more surprising musical events and still be liked.


Explore further

Study shows dopamine plays a role in musical pleasure

More information: Predictability and Uncertainty in the Pleasure of Music: A Reward for Learning? JNeurosci (2019). DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0428-19.2019
Journal information: Journal of Neuroscience

Citation: The brain's favorite type of music (2019, October 21) retrieved 12 December 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-10-brain-favorite-music.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
3 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments