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Article
Nature Neuroscience  2, 382 - 387 (1999)
doi:10.1038/7299

Emotional responses to pleasant and unpleasant music correlate with activity in paralimbic brain regions

Anne J. Blood, Robert J. Zatorre, Patrick Bermudez & Alan C. Evans

Neuropsychology/Cognitive Neuroscience Unit, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, 3801 rue University, Montreal, PQ H3A 2B4, Canada

Correspondence should be addressed to Anne J. Blood ablood@bic.mni.mcgill.ca
Neural correlates of the often-powerful emotional responses to music are poorly understood. Here we used positron emission tomography to examine cerebral blood flow (CBF) changes related to affective responses to music. Ten volunteers were scanned while listening to six versions of a novel musical passage varying systematically in degree of dissonance. Reciprocal CBF covariations were observed in several distinct paralimbic and neocortical regions as a function of dissonance and of perceived pleasantness/unpleasantness. The findings suggest that music may recruit neural mechanisms similar to those previously associated with pleasant/unpleasant emotional states, but different from those underlying other components of music perception, and other emotions such as fear.

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Nature Neuroscience
ISSN: 1097-6256
EISSN: 1546-1726
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