'Eargasm' may be true. Listening to your kind of music may bring a similar feeling to orgasm as per a new study from Canada finds.
Based on the study, the chemicals in the brain linked to the pleasure people get from things like sex and drugs also play a role in how people enjoy music.
Chemicals in the brain linked to the pleasure people get from things like sex and drugs also play a role in how people enjoy music (c) Shutterstock
In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports
showed that when people took a drug to block the chemical compounds in the brain that activate the so-called pleasure center, they no longer responded to music.
According to the study, pleasure, or reward, is experienced in two phases in the brain. The first phase is anticipatory, or "wanting" phase, which is driven by the neurotransmitter dopamine. While the second phase, consummatory or "liking" phase is driven by opioids in the brain.
"This is the first demonstration that the brain's own opioids are directly involved in musical pleasure," senior study author Daniel Levitin, a professor of psychology at McGill University in Canada, said in a statement.
Listening to eargasmic music be like
Previous studies have shown that opioids play a role in the pleasure people derive from experiences such as sex, food and drugs, according to the study.
Researchers gathered 15 participants who were asked to select two songs they considered very pleasurable. Together with the pleasurable music, the researchers also selected "emotionally neutral" music, which was not supposed to induce a response.
Before listening, the participants were given either naltrexone (a drug that blocks the effects of opioids in the brain) or a placebo. Then the researchers measured the participants' reactions as they listened to the music.
One week later, the participants returned to repeat the experiment, but this time they were given the opposite treatment (meaning, the placebo if they initially received naltrexone), according to the study.
Results showed that when the participants were given naltrexone, their emotional reactions, such as facial movements (both frowning and smiling), decreased when listening to all of the music. However, the participants' subjective reactions to the music changed only when they were listening to their chosen songs, not the neutral music, according to the study.
"The findings, themselves, were what we hypothesized," Levitin said. "But the anecdotes — the impressions our participants shared with us after the experiment — were fascinating."
The researchers noted that more research is needed before the results can be applied to a general population.
Also, the researchers also considered the factor that they blocked only one part of the reward system in the brain. Experts said, future studies should look at how the opioid system interacts with dopamine in the brain while listening to music.