At Stanford University, nine men and eight women with no formal music training listened to obscure classical music (four symphonies by late-baroque composer William Boyce) while lying inside fMRI machines. The researchers used a type of imaging that let them examine all different areas of the brain over the entire time that the participants were listening to the recording.

During the nine and a half minutes that the subjects spent listening to the music in its unadulterated form, the researchers noted a “highly distinctive and distributed set of brain regions” that was synchronized between each of them. In the music from which some of the elements that make it musical were removed, on the other hand, brain activity was markedly different from subject to subject.

via Study: There Seems to Be a Universal Brain Response to Music – Lindsay Abrams – The Atlantic.