Previous brain-related studies on music-evoked emotions have relied on listening to long music segments, which may reduce the precision of correlating emotional cues to specific brain areas. Break routines in electronic dance music (EDM) are emotive but short music moments containing three passages: breakdown, build-up, and drop. Within build-ups music features increase to peak moments prior to highly expected drop passages and peak-pleasurable emotions when these expectations are fulfilled. The neural correlates of peak-pleasurable emotions (such as excitement) in the short seconds of build-up and drop passages in EDM break routines are therefore good candidates to study brain correlates of emotion. Thirty-six participants listened to break routines while undergoing continuous EEG. Source reconstruction of EEG epochs for one second of build-up and of drop passages showed that pre- and post-central gyri and precuneus were more active during build-ups, and the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and middle frontal gyrus (MFG) were more active within drop passages. Importantly, IFG and MFG activity showed a correlation with ratings of subjective excitement during drop passages. The results suggest expectation is important in inducing peak-pleasurable experiences and brain activity changes within seconds of reported feelings of excitement during EDM break routines.

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