Using New Music as a Mental Reward

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Does this comic strike a chord with you? Regardless of age or digital download adoption rate,  consuming single tracks like fast food hamburgers is actually bad for us.  That’s because hearing new music and sounds actually activates the reward center of our brains, the nucleus accumbens, according to a recent study from Toronto’s Rotman Research Institute.

In the study, MRIs were utilized to see how the brain reacted to new music.  The more listeners enjoyed the new music, the more their nucleus accumbens lit up, indicating that not only were they perceiving these sounds as a reward, they were anticipating the next set of new sounds and creating a stronger connection to the music. Dr. Valorie Salimpoor says,“Music is abstract: It’s not like you are really hungry and you are about to get a piece of food and you are really excited about it because you are going to eat it – or the same thing applies to sex or money – that’s when you would normally see activity in the nucleus accumbens. But what’s cool is that you’re anticipating and getting excited over something entirely abstract – and that’s the next sound that is coming up.”

In essence, by choosing a single song over an album, purchasers deny themselves the reward of new music.  The most popular or radio-played track may not actually be the song a listener connects with the most. Just something to keep in mind when a non-audiophile wonders why you have so many full albums.
Source: A & R Worldwide

Audiogoners, how many times have you bought an album for one or two songs but found a hidden gem that made the whole purchase worthwhile? What were they?

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