Salimpoor, V.N., Van Den Bosch, I., Kovacevic, N., Mcintosh, A.R., Dagher, A. & Zatorre, R.J.
Interactions between nucleus accumbens and auditory cortices predict music reward value. Science (2013)


We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate neural processes when music gains reward value the first time it is heard. The degree of activity in the mesolimbic striatal regions, especially the nucleus accumbens, during music listening was the best predictor of the amount listeners were willing to spend on previously unheard music in an auction paradigm. Importantly, the auditory cortices, amygdala, and ventromedial prefrontal regions showed increased activity during listening conditions requiring valuation, but did not predict reward value, which was instead predicted by increasing functional connectivity of these regions with the nucleus accumbens as the reward value increased. Thus, aesthetic rewards arise from the interaction between mesolimbic reward circuitry and cortical networks involved in perceptual analysis and valuation.

Stimuli ranked according to the amount paid by participants
Artist Song Title Rank Play Clip
April Smith and the Great Picture Show Terrible Things 1
Coco Rosie Smokey Taboo 2
Ratatat Neckbrace 3
Lo-Fi-Fnk City 4
Lille Tall Shoulders 5
Gramatik Tearing it Up 6
Jonsi Go do 7
Crystal Castles Baptism 8
Barth Customer 5 9
Angus & Julia Stone Black Crow 10
Neighbors Friends 11
Cut Copy Feel the Love 12
Garden Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs 13
Broken Bells The High Road 14
BreakBot Baby I'm Yours 15
Miami Horror Moon Theory 16
Gorilla Manor Sun Hands 17
Norman No Clouds 18
Suckers Black Sheep 19
Florence + the Machine Drumming Song 20
Charlotte Gainsbourg Heaven Can Wait 21
Kyteman She Blew Like Trumpets 22
White Lies To Lose My Life 23
Koop Island Blues 24
School of Seven Bells Caldo 25
Band of Horses Factory 26
Codeine Velvet Club Vanity Kills 27
Black Rebel Motorcyle Club Beat the Devil's Tatto 28
Kid Dub Dub Step 29
Admiral Freebee Always on the run - 30
Lille Robert Cohn 31
Ladyhawke Danny & Jenny 32
Man-miracle Hot Sprawl 33
Massive Attack Saturday Comes Slow 34
Owen Pallet Lewis Takes off His Shirt 35
C-mon & Kypski High on a Wire 36
Moving Units Anyone 37
The Black Keys Ten Cent Pistols 38
Melissa Auf Der Mauer 22 Below (Piano Version) 39
Nouvelle Vague Lalala 40
A. C. Newman Elemental 41
Empire of the Sun Standing on the Shore 42
The Presets This Boy's in Love 43
Yuksek & Chromeo So Down 44
Music Go Music Warm in the Shadows 45
Yeah Yeah Yeah's Heads will Roll 46
Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah Goodbye to Mother and the Cove 47
Caro Emerald A Night Like This 48
Trentemoller Sycamore Feeling 49
Midnight Juggernauts Shadows 50
Elephants Warpaint 51
Shout it Out Princeton (Fol Chen Remix) 52
Kaskade Fire in Your New Shoes 53
Boys like Girls Love Drunk 54
Toro Y Moi Low Shoulders 55
She and Him I'm Gonna Make it Better 56
Vivian Girls My Love will Follow Me 57
LCD Soundsystem Pow Pow 58
King Kooba Static Society 59
Hacienda Go to get back home 60