Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Some people really just don't like music

Date:
March 6, 2014
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
It is often said that music is a universal language. However, a new report finds that music doesn't speak to everyone. There are people who are perfectly able to experience pleasure in other ways who simply don't get music in the way the rest of us do.

Annoying noise (stock image). Researchers have described a new condition called specific musical anhedonia -- the specific inability to experience pleasure from music.
Credit: © Alexey Laputin / Fotolia

It is often said that music is a universal language. However, a new report in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on March 6 finds that music doesn't speak to everyone. There are people who are perfectly able to experience pleasure in other ways who simply don't get music in the way the rest of us do.

Related Articles


The researchers refer to this newly described condition as specific musical anhedonia -- in other words, the specific inability to experience pleasure from music.

"The identification of these individuals could be very important to understanding the neural basis of music -- that is, to understand how a set of notes [is] translated into emotions," says Josep Marco-Pallarés of the University of Barcelona.

The researchers previously found hints about this form of anhedonia after they developed a questionnaire to evaluate individual differences in musical reward. Those evaluations found some individuals who reported low sensitivity to music but average sensitivity to other kinds of reward. But multiple explanations are possible for these low music sensitivities. For instance, some people might seem to dislike music because they have trouble perceiving it, a condition called amusia. Or maybe some people simply answered the questions inaccurately.

In the current study, the research team decided to look more closely at three groups of ten people, with each group consisting of participants with high pleasure ratings in response to music, average pleasure ratings in response to music, or low sensitivity to musical reward, respectively. Participants in the three groups were chosen based on their comparable overall sensitivity to other types of rewards and their ability to perceive music.

Subjects participated in two different experiments: a music task, in which they had to rate the degree of pleasure they were experiencing while listening to pleasant music, and a monetary incentive delay task, in which participants had to respond quickly to a target in order to win or avoid losing real money. Both tasks have been shown to engage reward-related neural circuits and produce a rush of dopamine. Meanwhile, the researchers recorded changes of skin conductance response and heart rate as physiologic indicators of emotion.

The results were clear: some otherwise healthy and happy people do not enjoy music and show no autonomic responses to its sound, despite normal musical perception capacities. Those people do respond to monetary rewards, which shows that low sensitivity to music isn't tied to some global abnormality of the reward network.

The findings might lead to new understandings of the reward system, with implications for pathologies including addiction and affective disorders, the researchers say.

"The idea that people can be sensitive to one type of reward and not to another suggests that there might be different ways to access the reward system and that, for each person, some ways might be more effective than others," Marco-Pallarés says.

Wondering where you fall on the music reward spectrum? Complete the questionnaire and find out here: http://www.brainvitge.org/bmrq.php.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ernest Mas-Herrero, Robert J. Zatorre, Antoni Rodriguez-Fornells, Josep Marco-Pallarés. Dissociation between Musical and Monetary Reward Responses in Specific Musical Anhedonia. Current Biology, 06 March 2014 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.01.068

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Some people really just don't like music." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306130411.htm>.
Cell Press. (2014, March 6). Some people really just don't like music. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 3, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306130411.htm
Cell Press. "Some people really just don't like music." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306130411.htm (accessed March 3, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) — Researchers gave lidocaine to 112 patients, and about 88 percent of the subjects said they needed less migraine-relief medicine the next day. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) — Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods to Battle Stress

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) — If you&apos;re dealing with anxiety, there are a few foods that can help. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the best foods to tame stress. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Newsy (Feb. 26, 2015) — People who sleep more than eight hours per night are 45 percent more likely to have a stroke, according to a University of Cambridge study. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins