Your music tastes can be changed in just a few minutes

Scientists can change your music tastes by jolting your brain with magnets.

Researchers found they could increase or decrease people's enjoyment of music by stimulating the front of the brain with magnets for just a few minutes according to daily mail.

The technique even changed how much money each person was willing to spend on the track.

The magnets could one day help treat the symptoms of disorders that affect the brain's reward system, including depression, Parkinson's disease and addiction.

Researchers asked 17 people to listen to pieces of music.

 Participants were asked to rate how much pleasure they got out of the tracks, which were chosen by both the experimenters and the volunteers.

Study volunteers were also offered the chance to buy the songs with their own money.

Throughout each track, the researchers used a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to stimulate part of the brain.

Using the magnets, the researchers either excited or inhibited a part of the brain called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.

Participants gave music higher ratings when this region was excited, and were willing to spend 10 per cent more money to buy songs they had not selected than they were in control experiments.

When the region was inhibited, volunteers gave the music lower ratings and parted with 15 per cent less cash.

Previous research has shown that applying TMS to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex can change how much dopamine the brain releases.

Specifically, the technique can change how much dopamine is released in the striatum, a deep brain region involved in reward processing.

Our striatum is active during our peak experience of musical pleasure, according to previous research.

'The physiology had been established, but the idea that you could make people like music more or less was a little bit science-fiction,' study lead author Dr Robert Zatorre said.

This mechanism is unlikely to be particular to pleasure experienced from music, and may apply to other types of stimuli, he added.

The research could be used to treat brain disorders where sufferers experience apathy, or the inability to enjoy experiences they previously took pleasure in.

'A big part of therapy could be to enhance their well-being by modulating the reward system so that it's more responsive to pleasurable stimuli,' Dr Zatorre said.

The research could also help people whose brain reward system needs to be dampened, such as those with addictive or obsessive behaviours.

N.H.Kh

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