DOI: 10.1007/s00259-017-3614-7Pages: 1-9

Neural correlates of the popular music phenomenon: evidence from functional MRI and PET imaging

1. The Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry

2. Zhejiang University Medical PET Center

3. Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging of Zhejiang University

4. Key Laboratory of Medical Molecular Imaging of Zhejiang Province

5. The Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Department of Nuclear Medicine

6. Seoul National University Hospital, Department of Nuclear Medicine

Correspondence to:
Mei Tian
Email: meitian@zju.edu.cn

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Abstract

Purpose

Music can induce different emotions. However, its neural mechanism remains unknown. The aim of this study was to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and position emission tomography (PET) imaging for mapping of neural changes under the most popular music in healthy volunteers.

Methods

Blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) fMRI and monoamine receptor PET imaging with 11C-N-methylspiperone (11C-NMSP) were conducted under the popular music Gangnam Style and light music A Comme Amour in healthy subjects. PET and fMRI images were analyzed by using the Statistical Parametric Mapping software (SPM).

Results

Significantly increased fMRI BOLD signals were found in the bilateral superior temporal cortices, left cerebellum, left putamen and right thalamus cortex. Monoamine receptor availability was increased significantly in the left superior temporal gyrus and left putamen, but decreased in the bilateral superior occipital cortices under the Gangnam Style compared with the light music condition. Significant positive correlation was found between 11C-NMSP binding and fMRI BOLD signals in the left temporal cortex. Furthermore, increased 11C-NMSP binding in the left putamen was positively correlated with the mood arousal level score under the Gangnam Style condition.

Conclusion

Popular music Gangnam Style can arouse pleasure experience and strong emotional response. The left putamen is positively correlated with the mood arousal level score under the Gangnam Style condition. Our results revealed characteristic patterns of brain activity associated with Gangnam Style, and may also provide more general insights into the music-induced emotional processing.

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  • Accepted: Jan 2, 2017
  • Online: Jan 12, 2017

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