Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Want To Exchange Some Dubstep For Dopamine?

In a recent study published in Nature Neuroscience, scientists discovered that it may be possible to induce a feeling of euphoria through listening to certain pieces of music.  While experiencing music, such as Samuel Barber's "Adagio For Strings," the brain releases dopamine, the chemical that makes you feel awesome, and makes you want repeat an action again and again in hopes of releasing more of this wonderful brain chemical! Although it's possible to generate such a responses through listening to songs such as "Adagio For Strings," my question is whether it's possible to replicate a similar effect using songs by dubstep artists, in particular ambient dubstep.

Dubstep artist Burial, who I've covered in previous blog posts, revealed in a secret interview with The Wire, that he had a very specific concept in mind while producing his two albums, which sounded similar to wanting to create the effects mentioned above:

"I wanted to make a half euphoric record. That was an older thing that UK underground music used to have. I think that type of euphoria is a British thing, like UK tunes, old rave tunes used to be the masters of that, for a reason, to do with the rave, a half smile, half human endorphins and half something hypnotized by drugs...It's about being on a night bus, or with your mates, walking home across your city on your own late at night...or coming back from a club, or putting tunes on an falling asleep."

So, I need you to do something for me. Listen to "Adagio For Strings Here," and note down how it makes you feel.

 Now, listen to these songs by Burial, and see if you experience a similar feeling to "Adagio."

And then listen to this:

After you're done listening to all three, compare how you felt during each experience. Were you happy? Did you feel like listening to one of them again? Did you get a fuzzy feeling in your arms and legs? After listening to all three pieces, I certainly experienced such effects, which makes me think that these scientists are onto something great - getting high, the legal way!


  1. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20011346-10391704.html
    might want to look into this idea

  2. i quite literally died of boredom, put this on my tombstone.

  3. I'm trying to research the correlation between dubstep and brain activity/ response right now for a project.
    I've been getting deep into dance music since attending EDC and, have been personally exploring effects of the electric pops, magnetic wobbles and bass drops as a way of releasing dopamine.