A song comes through your earbuds: good rhythm, clever lyrics, pleasing melody. You know whether you like the song, right?
Maybe not. A series of studies using brain imaging raise the possibility that sometimes we think we like or dislike things, but our brains know better.
I will explain what I mean, by describing one of the studies. In it, teenagers listened to songs while researchers measured their brain activity using fMRI machines. Basically, an fMRI shows how much blood is flowing to various regions of the brain over time; when a pleasurable song pipes into kids’ ears, for example, the pleasure centers of their brains light up. After playing music and scanning people’s brains, the researchers and participants went their own separate ways. Two years later, the researchers looked at how the songs they played for the teenagers that day faired in the ensuing time. Surprisingly, the teenagers’ readings of the songs – of how much they liked or disliked – did not predict subsequent downloads their expressed opinions about the songs were like faulty political polls, failing to predict how they actually felt about the music.
(To read the rest of the article, please visit Forbes.)