Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pop music is addictive?

Saw this over at Cracked.com. Apparently, the reason you've got the latest hit on replay is a matter of self-medication. O_o Take a look:

Yes, pop music is basically cranial crack, to the point that scientists have actually been able to predict which songs would become big sellers by hooking kids up to an MRI scanner and playing previously unheard pop tunes for them. When a future hit came on, the pleasure center of the brain lit up like a Christmas tree.

Here's the curious thing: The participants were also surveyed about the songs, and the reviews they gave them were significantly different from what their brain scans revealed. Yes, although the songs gave their brains the kind of high you usually have to break a bunch of laws to achieve, they consciously went against their brainwaves in order to seem less inclined to pop music than the MRI scanner showed they were.

And not only does your brain go apesh*t when it hears catchy, poppy music, but also it actually derives pleasure from predicting the melodies as you listen, anticipating the emotion associated with certain types of music. This leads to a one-two punch where you get one thrill when your brain is expecting something to happen, and when it actually does another rush of dopamine comes in from an entirely different part of the brain. And this is where your brain enters Addict Mode. The easiest way for it to get its dopamine fix is tunes that are simple, predictable and repetitive -- so that's what it prefers, no matter your views on the artistic merits. That's right -- no matter how carefully hipster you are, or how hardcore a metalhead image you maintain, your brain is secretly into Bieber.




This is really interesting, as it sort of explains why pop music is, well, pop music.

Pop = Popular

I'm starting to suspect the difference between overt pop music lovers and those who "hate" mainstream music is one group has no rep to protect, and in order to comply with certain perceived social norms, must vocally contradict their brains. :D

Food for thought...



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