Songs That Reward the Brain

Study participant listens to music
A participant prepares to listen to new music in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine. (Image credit: Andre Gaumand)

Brain regions linked with reward, emotion and auditory memory work together to determine whether someone will like a new song enough to buy it, according to a new study published Friday (April 12) in the journal Science.

To delve into the brain's appreciation of new music, researchers narrowed down a group of participants who had similar tastes in electronica and indie rock. The volunteers could use their own money to purchase the songs, none of which they'd heard before. [Read Full Story]

Here's the list of songs the volunteers heard for the first time during the experiment, in order of their popularity among participants:

Terrible Things (April Smith and the Great Picture Show)

Smokey Taboo (Coco Rosie)

Neckbrace (Ratatat)

Lo-Fi-Fnk (City)

Tall Shoulders (Lille)

Tearing It Up (Gramatik)

Go Do (Jonsi)

Baptism (Crystal Castles)

Customer 5 (Barth)

Black Crow (Angus & Julia Stone)

Friends (Neighbors)

Feel the Love (Cut Copy)

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (Garden)

The High Road (Broken Bells)

Baby I'm Yours (BreakBot)

Moon Theory (Miami Horror)

Sun Hands (Gorilla Manor)

No Clouds (Norman)

Black Sheep (Suckers)

Drumming Song (Florence + the Machine)

Heaven Can Wait (Charlotte Gainsbourg)

She Blew Like Trumpets (Kyteman)

To Lose My Life (White Lies)

Island Blues (Koop)

Caldo (School of Seven Bells)

Factory (Band of Horses)

Vanity Kills (Codeine Velvet Club)

Beat the Devil's Tattoo (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club)

Dub Step (Kid Dub)

Always on the Run (Admiral Freebee)

Robert Cohn (Lille)

Danny & Jenny (LadyHawke)

Hot Sprawl (Man-miracle)

Saturday Comes Slow (Massive Attack)

Lewis Takes Off His Shirt (Owen Pallet)

High on a Wire (C-mon & Kypski)

Anyone (Moving Units)

Ten Cent Pistols (The Black Keys)

22 Below, Piano Version (Melissa Auf Der Mauer)

Lalala (Nouvelle Vague)

Elemental (A.C. Newman)

Standing on the Shore (Empire of the Sun)

This Boy's in Love (The Presets)

So Down (Yuksek & Chromeo)

Warm in the Shadows (Music Go Music)

Heads Will Roll (Yeah Yeah Yeah's)

Goodbye to Mother and the Cove (Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah)

A Night Like This (Caro Emerald)

Sycamore Feeling (Trentemoller)

Shadows (Midnight Juggernauts)

Warpaint (Elephants)

Shout it Out (Princeton, Fol Chen Remix)

Fire in Your New Shoes (Kaskade)

Love Drunk (Boys Like Girls)

Low Shoulders (Toro Y Moi)

I'm Gonna Make It Better (She and Him)

My Love Will Follow Me (Vivian Girls)

Pow Pow (LCD Soundsystem)

Static Society (King Kooba)

Go to Get Back Home (Hacienda)

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Stephanie Pappas
Live Science Contributor

Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.