Being Physically Incapable Of Enjoying Music Is Absolutely A Thing, And It's Got Its Own Name
Believe it or not, some people are physically incapable of enjoying music — at least according to a new study conducted by Josep Marco-Pallerés, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Barcelona. Marco-Pallerés' research concluded that some people experience none of the behavioral pleasures or autonomic responses that music triggers in almost everybody else. Oh, and there's a name for it: A condition now known as "specific musical anhedonia."
The study utilized 30 university students who classified themselves as very sensitive, moderately sensitive, or not sensitive at all to music. Their heart rate and sweat levels were measured when they listened to music, and again when they played a game competing for a cash prize. While all participants could identify music as happy, sad, or somewhere in between, the students who had self-classified themselves as insensitive to music didn't display any physical reactions to the music, while the others did.
However, when playing a game with a cash-prize incentive, the students who displayed no physical reactions to any kind of music saw their hearts physically race in response to the dramatic game. All the participants responded this way, suggesting that it was only music that failed to elicit a physical response in those "insensitive" to music. Even a year later, when most of the students re-took the test, the results were the same.
The study was small-scale, and would require more research to confirm the existence of a "specific musical anhedonia" disorder. Still, it's interesting, and speaks to something worth keeping in mind generally — that different people really can relate to art, love, sadness, or any number of things in fundamentally different ways.