Why some people don't like music
Researchers from the University of Barcelona have taken on the challenge of trying to understand why some people don't seem to like music--even though they're capable of experiencing pleasure in other ways.
In their study, the research team analyzed 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.
The 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 the music and the money tasks have been shown to engage reward-related neural circuits and produce a rush of dopamine.
To gauge the participants' emotional responses to the tasks, the researchers analyzed heart rates and skin conductance response. And they found they some people had no emotional reaction to the music--primarily classical pieces--but they showed a clear emotional response to the task related to winning or losing money.
The researchers said they still aren't sure why the people seemed indifferent to music, but they did create a name for the condition. They call it "musical anhedonia."