A new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), reveals a causal link between dopamine and the reward responses in humans when listening to music. The study was conducted by researchers from the Cognition and Brain Plasticity Group of the University of Barcelona and the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute of Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (UB-IDIBELL), the Human Neuropsychopharmacology group and the PKPD modeling and simulation groups at the Biomedical Research Institute of Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and the Montreal Neurological Institute of McGill University.
Researchers pharmacologically manipulated the dopaminergic transmission of twenty-seven participants while they were listening to music and showed for the first time a causal link between dopamine and musical pleasure and motivation. While the dopamine precursor levodopa increased the hedonic experience and motivational responses, such as willingness to purchase a song, the dopamine antagonist risperidone led to a reduction of both. These results critically shed new light on the neurobiology and neurochemistry underpinning reward responses, contributing to an open debate on human pleasures.
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