The study volunteers chose a wide range of music – from classical and jazz to punk, tango and even bagpipes. The most popular were Barber's Adagio for Strings, the second movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Debussy's Claire de Lune.
Since they already knew the musical pieces they listened to, it wasn't possible to tell whether the anticipation reaction came from memory or the natural feel people develop for how music unfolds, Zatorre said. That question is under study, too.
Dr. Gottfried Schlaug, an expert on music and the brain at Harvard Medical School, called the study "remarkable" for the combination of techniques it used.
While experts had indirect indications that music taps into the dopamine system, he said, the new work "really nails it."
Music isn't the only cultural experience that affects the brain's reward circuitry. Other researchers recently showed a link when people studied artwork.
Via Sakis Koukouvis