In research published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, scientists at McGill University in Montreal have established the direct link between the elation stimulated by music and the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is the same substance that puts the joy in sex, the thrill in certain illegal drugs, and the warm feeling within a woman breast-feeding her child.
The substance also may explain why the power of music crosses human cultures, the scientists said.
Valorie N. Salimpoor and other researchers in the lab of Robert J. Zatorre took eight subjects and asked them to bring in music they loved. They chose a broad range of instrumental music, from Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings (the most popular) to jazz and punk. The test used only familiar music, Zatorre said, because he wanted to make sure he was getting a "maximal response."
What the subjects had in common was that the music they brought in gave them the "chills," which is actually a technical term for a kind of emotional response. A positron emission tomography, or PET scan, measured dopamine release.
Can't wait till they try to ban music.... again