home
RSS
What makes a song popular? The brain may know
June 10th, 2011
05:25 PM ET

What makes a song popular? The brain may know

Do you know a future hit when you hear one?

New research from Emory University suggests that particular patterns of brain activity may be able to predict the popularity of music. More importantly, says lead researcher Gregory Berns, brain research might help forecast how culturally influential ideas can become. The study will be published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

Berns and colleagues discovered the phenomenon accidentally. They had set out to look at the effects of popular opinion on adolescent preferences, using 120 songs by unsigned artists on MySpace that the participants probably hadn't heard of before. They conducted the experiment in 2006 with 27 participants aged 12 to 17, and used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to record brain responses to each of the songs.

Most of these songs didn't ever sell well. But in a few cases, they realized in the intervening years, several of the songs had gone on to become more widely popular, such as “Apologize” by One Republic.

Comparing brain response data with sales of those songs from 2007 to 2010, they found a correlation between particular brain responses and songs that would go on to sell more than 20,000 units. About 1/3 of the songs that sold more than this drew strong activity from two brain regions associated with reward. Weak responses were even better at predicting flops; lower activity was associated with about 90% of songs selling less than 20,000 units.

Strong activity in two brain regions could predict hits about 1/3 of the time. Weak activity was even better at predicting non-hits.

There are caveats, of course. The sample size of 27 is relatively small, and may not be representative of the general population, although teenagers do tend to buy a lot of music, Berns said.

The two brain regions researchers identified as important in this study, called the orbitofrontal cortex and ventral striatum, have been shown previously to be activated in situations where a person is anticipating something that he or she likes. That could be money, music, wine, and other items that people purchase.

"There's the sense that this circuit is somehow representing common utility or value to the person," Berns said.

Interestingly, the brain responses in those regions were better predictors of song success than whether the participants said they liked or disliked any given song. Berns speculates that's because when someone asks you what you think of a song, you might tailor your answer to what you believe the questioner wants to hear. The brain response may be the raw feeling you have about it.

While previous research looked at individual preferences, this study suggests that brain scans can predict widespread preferences of others. And actually, there are plenty of "neuromarketing" companies out there trying to exploit that idea, although these researchers are not affiliated with them.

Berns and colleagues are also studying how religious and political ideology are represented in the brain.

"There’s no reason why we couldn’t apply the same type of techniques to understand how people process concepts and ideas, and try to forecast whether those will will have staying power," he said.


soundoff (625 Responses)
  1. asian market near me

    https://andresq52j1.bloguerosa.com/4725773/5-essential-elements-for-business

    June 19, 2021 at 14:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. RV Repair California

    I needed to thank you for this fantastic read!! I certainly loved every little bit of it. I've got you bookmarked to look at new things you postÖ

    http://mydoterra.com/Application/index.cfm?EnrollerID=458046&Theme=DefaultTheme&Returnurl=https://www.ocrvshop.com/medical-bus-collision-repair-shop-near-me&LNG=en_dot&iact=1

    June 19, 2021 at 16:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now

    There is certainly a great deal to know about this issue. I really like all the points you have made.

    http://www.eridan.websrvcs.com/System/Login.asp?id=48747&Referer=https://www.theocrv.com/rv-repair-shop-long-beach-california

    June 19, 2021 at 18:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Repair Around Me

    This website was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something which helped me. Many thanks!

    https://www.mydoterra.com/Application/index.cfm?EnrollerID=458046&Theme=DefaultTheme&Returnurl=http://www.ocrvcenter.com/rv-furniture-repair-near-me/&LNG=en_dot&iact=1

    June 19, 2021 at 22:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Camper Repair Near Me

    Very nice article. I definitely appreciate this site. Keep it up!

    https://www2.golflink.com.au/out.aspx?frm=logo&target=https://www.ocrvcenter.com/testimonials/

    June 19, 2021 at 22:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Content Marketing Boutique

    http://terrasound.at/ext_link?url=http://www.affordableranking.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 01:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. SEO Marketing Consultants

    https://www.ww31.connexions-direct.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=https://affordableranking.com

    June 20, 2021 at 01:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Internet Marketing Agency

    https://www.frogpress.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=http://www.affordableranking.com

    June 20, 2021 at 03:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Internet Marketing Service Near Me

    http://smokesforless.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 10:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Video Marketing Near Me

    http://web-site-guarantee.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    June 20, 2021 at 10:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. chinese restaurants near me

    http://www.hyoito-fda.com/out.php?url=https://www.bestservicenearme.com

    June 21, 2021 at 00:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Sprinter Repair Costa Mesa

    Your style is so unique in comparison to other folks I've read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this blog.

    http://www.angrybirds.su/gbook/goto.php?url=https://ocrvcenter.com/

    June 21, 2021 at 08:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Camper Repair Places Near Me

    I couldnít refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!

    http://www.highdrops.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvcenter.com

    June 21, 2021 at 08:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. garage sales near me

    http://goldfishlegs.ca/go2.php?url=http://bulknearme.com

    June 21, 2021 at 09:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RV Repair San Clemente California

    http://www.flowertour.jp/redirect.php?id=mi45f604ec34a55&url=http://ocrvcenter.com/

    June 21, 2021 at 09:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Tommie Soffer

    The background image of my website is labeled for commercial reuse. However, I need to copyright all other content (since I do not own the image), how do I go about doing so? Just to label my website as copyrighted... I am not concerned with the entire copyrighting process... All help is greatly appreciated..

    https://www.instagram.com/katekdesigns

    June 21, 2021 at 09:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. apple store near me

    bookmarked!!, I really like your website!

    http://www.usalocalgovernmentinfo.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=bestlocalnearme.com

    June 21, 2021 at 09:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. wegmans near me

    http://hiroshima.o-map.com/out_back.php?f_cd=0018&url=https://reviewnearme.com

    June 21, 2021 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. RV Repair Near Me Now

    http://dolese.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvcenter.com/

    June 21, 2021 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Sprinter Repair Near Me

    I really like it whenever people come together and share ideas. Great website, keep it up!

    http://www.marstruct-vi.com/feedback.aspx?page=https://ocrvcenter.com

    June 21, 2021 at 12:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RV Repair California

    http://www.marcomanfredini.it/radio/visualizzacollezione.php?paginanews=1&contenuto=13&quale=40&origine=http://ocrvcenter.com/

    June 21, 2021 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Maintenance Shop Near Me

    http://www.paul-stanley.biz/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=fleetservicesorangecounty.com

    June 21, 2021 at 16:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. xem phim casino royale 2006 hd

    đá Bóng Phủi, Tin Thời Gian Nhanh, Video Online 24hcasino near meLiverpool là nhóm bóng nhận ít thẻ nhất ở Premier League mùa này và đang được đứng trước cơ hội giành giải thưởng Fair Play ở mùa giải thứ 5 liên tiếp. Sau lúc thăng hạng 96 trái đất, đội tuyển nước Việt Nam đã lọt group hạt giống số 2 vòng loại World Cup 2022 khu vực châu Á.

    https://www.vnd188.bet/

    June 21, 2021 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Winnebago Van Repair Shop Near Me

    http://ignoretheobvious.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=campervanrepairshop.com

    June 22, 2021 at 00:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Sprinter Repair Near Me

    Great info. Lucky me I recently found your website by accident (stumbleupon). I've saved as a favorite for later!

    http://www.cerox.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.ocrvcenter.info

    June 22, 2021 at 01:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Ford Luxury Van Repair Shop

    http://troymarket.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=sprintervanrepairnearme.com

    June 22, 2021 at 01:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Custom Van Repair Shop

    When I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment is added I receive four emails with the exact same comment. There has to be a means you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

    http://amadeuse-travel.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=campervanrepairshop.com

    June 22, 2021 at 02:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Sprinter Repair Shop Near Me

    Excellent post. I'm facing some of these issues as well..

    http://www.cabanabreeze.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=theocrv.com

    June 22, 2021 at 04:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RV Repair Shops Near Me

    http://www.fortruth.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrv.vip

    June 22, 2021 at 04:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Frame Repair Shop

    http://nobay.it/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=customcampervans.com

    June 22, 2021 at 05:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Dent Repair

    Everything is very open with a clear description of the issues. It was really informative. Your website is very useful. Many thanks for sharing!

    http://1-800-lawfact.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=customcampervans.com

    June 22, 2021 at 06:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Conversion Van Screen Repair

    http://www.c-span2.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=fleetservicesorangecounty.com

    June 22, 2021 at 10:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Best RV Repair Near Me

    This is a topic that is near to my heart... Take care! Where are your contact details though?

    https://cross-a.net/go_out.php?url=https://ocrvcenter.com/

    June 22, 2021 at 16:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Best RV Repair Shop Near Me

    http://mailstreet.com/redirect.asp?url=http://ocrvcenter.com/

    June 22, 2021 at 20:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Digital Marketing Consultants

    https://saratov.rtrs.ru/go/?q=https://consciousgrowthmarketing.com

    June 22, 2021 at 22:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Social Media Marketing Businesses

    Itís hard to come by educated people for this subject, but you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks

    http://candlelight.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=consciousgrowthmarketing.com

    June 23, 2021 at 01:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. joe rogan podcast

    Hi! I simply want to offer you a huge thumbs up for the excellent information you've got here on this post. I'll be returning to your website for more soon.

    http://qap.realestateauctionusa.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=backbonehunters.com

    June 23, 2021 at 02:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Google Marketing Experts

    Everything is very open with a precise explanation of the issues. It was really informative. Your website is very helpful. Thank you for sharing!

    http://animalspringwater.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=consciousgrowthmarketing.com

    June 23, 2021 at 04:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Local Marketing Consultants

    Excellent article. I will be experiencing some of these issues as well..

    http://mediasecure.de/wp-content/plugins/wp-js-external-link-info/redirect.php?url=https://consciousgrowthmarketing.com/

    June 23, 2021 at 07:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. warren sharp podcast

    Hi there! This article couldnít be written much better! Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this. I am going to forward this article to him. Pretty sure he's going to have a great read. Thank you for sharing!

    http://adserver.merciless.localstars.com/track.php?ad=525825&target=https://backbonehunters.com/

    June 23, 2021 at 10:05 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Leave a Reply to Splovengates


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.