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Musical anhedonia or indifference to music

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 16.10.2021

Recent studies by neuroscientists have shown that there are people who do not enjoy listening to music. The study was conducted by Spanish scientists and its results were published in the journal Current Biology.

One of the researchers of the University of Barcelona, Joseph Marco-Pollares, notes that the disclosure of such people will significantly help understand the neural nature of music, in other words, to understand how a set of notes can cause an emotional outburst.

The condition of people, when there is no reaction, to any kind of music, experts called "musical anhedonia" (anhedonia - a decrease or loss of the ability to receive pleasure). At the same time, such people had the ability to enjoy other pleasant stimuli.

Researchers divided the volunteers into three groups of 10 people each. In each group there were people with musical sensitivity of low, medium and high level. Scientists conducted two experiments, which studied the susceptibility of people in each of the groups. In the first experiment, the level of pleasure experienced by favorite music pieces was assessed, in the second - participants had to quickly decide on the desired goal, in the end to earn a reward in the form of money or not to lose the already available amount.

As a result, the researchers determined that in the first and second cases, the nervous brain was activated in the brain, which is responsible for the pleasure, while in the body there was a release of the hormone dopamine, also called the "pleasure hormone." The research team noted that there was also a violation of the heart rate and the level of electrical resistance of the skin, which were indicators of emotional reactions.

As a result, scientists determined that some people (with a normal level of sonic susceptibility) did not have an autoimmune response to musical sounds, while they were quite cheerful and happy, but did not get any pleasure from music. But the cash reward for such people was quite natural reaction, which indicates that low musical sensitivity is not related to serious deviations in the work of certain parts of the brain.

As the researchers note, their conclusions can help in the treatment of certain addictions. The hypothesis that people are able to respond to one type of reward, while being indifferent to the other, allows us to assume that the evaluation of this work of the brain can be different, it also makes it possible to judge that the effectiveness of certain ways for a certain category of people can be higher, than for others. In addition, the researchers found that susceptibility to music can reduce the risk of depression and hearing problems.

In other studies of British scientists, it has been found that people with higher education are less likely to become obese because they pay more attention to proper nutrition.

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