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      From perception to pleasure: music and its neural substrates.

      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

      Auditory Cortex, physiology, Pleasure, Nucleus Accumbens, Nerve Net, Music, Humans, Frontal Lobe, Auditory Perception

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          Abstract

          Music has existed in human societies since prehistory, perhaps because it allows expression and regulation of emotion and evokes pleasure. In this review, we present findings from cognitive neuroscience that bear on the question of how we get from perception of sound patterns to pleasurable responses. First, we identify some of the auditory cortical circuits that are responsible for encoding and storing tonal patterns and discuss evidence that cortical loops between auditory and frontal cortices are important for maintaining musical information in working memory and for the recognition of structural regularities in musical patterns, which then lead to expectancies. Second, we review evidence concerning the mesolimbic striatal system and its involvement in reward, motivation, and pleasure in other domains. Recent data indicate that this dopaminergic system mediates pleasure associated with music; specifically, reward value for music can be coded by activity levels in the nucleus accumbens, whose functional connectivity with auditory and frontal areas increases as a function of increasing musical reward. We propose that pleasure in music arises from interactions between cortical loops that enable predictions and expectancies to emerge from sound patterns and subcortical systems responsible for reward and valuation.

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          Most cited references 96

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          The reward circuit: linking primate anatomy and human imaging.

          Although cells in many brain regions respond to reward, the cortical-basal ganglia circuit is at the heart of the reward system. The key structures in this network are the anterior cingulate cortex, the orbital prefrontal cortex, the ventral striatum, the ventral pallidum, and the midbrain dopamine neurons. In addition, other structures, including the dorsal prefrontal cortex, amygdala, hippocampus, thalamus, and lateral habenular nucleus, and specific brainstem structures such as the pedunculopontine nucleus, and the raphe nucleus, are key components in regulating the reward circuit. Connectivity between these areas forms a complex neural network that mediates different aspects of reward processing. Advances in neuroimaging techniques allow better spatial and temporal resolution. These studies now demonstrate that human functional and structural imaging results map increasingly close to primate anatomy.
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            Intensely pleasurable responses to music correlate with activity in brain regions implicated in reward and emotion.

            We used positron emission tomography to study neural mechanisms underlying intensely pleasant emotional responses to music. Cerebral blood flow changes were measured in response to subject-selected music that elicited the highly pleasurable experience of "shivers-down-the-spine" or "chills." Subjective reports of chills were accompanied by changes in heart rate, electromyogram, and respiration. As intensity of these chills increased, cerebral blood flow increases and decreases were observed in brain regions thought to be involved in reward/motivation, emotion, and arousal, including ventral striatum, midbrain, amygdala, orbitofrontal cortex, and ventral medial prefrontal cortex. These brain structures are known to be active in response to other euphoria-inducing stimuli, such as food, sex, and drugs of abuse. This finding links music with biologically relevant, survival-related stimuli via their common recruitment of brain circuitry involved in pleasure and reward.
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              Maps and streams in the auditory cortex: nonhuman primates illuminate human speech processing.

              Speech and language are considered uniquely human abilities: animals have communication systems, but they do not match human linguistic skills in terms of recursive structure and combinatorial power. Yet, in evolution, spoken language must have emerged from neural mechanisms at least partially available in animals. In this paper, we will demonstrate how our understanding of speech perception, one important facet of language, has profited from findings and theory in nonhuman primate studies. Chief among these are physiological and anatomical studies showing that primate auditory cortex, across species, shows patterns of hierarchical structure, topographic mapping and streams of functional processing. We will identify roles for different cortical areas in the perceptual processing of speech and review functional imaging work in humans that bears on our understanding of how the brain decodes and monitors speech. A new model connects structures in the temporal, frontal and parietal lobes linking speech perception and production.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                23754373
                10.1073/pnas.1301228110
                3690607

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