Using MRI scans, a Canadian team of scientists found that areas in the reward centre of the brain became active when people heard new music for the first time. The more the listener enjoyed what they were hearing, the stronger the connections were in the region of the brain called the nucleus accumbens.
The researchers found that listening to new music is as good as sex. They also noticed that the nucleus accumbens was interacting with another region of the brain called the auditory cortical stores. This is an area that stores sound information based on music that people have been exposed to before.
The researchers now want to find out how this drives our music tastes, and whether our brain activity can explain why people are drawn to different styles of music.