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Some of us just can't get in tune with music

IT is said music is a universal language, but research has found not everyone gets the same pleasure from a tune – and some people get none at all.

Experts have identified a condition called specific musical anhedonia that seemingly renders people incapable of enjoying a few notes.

They had previously found hints of the condition when they came up with a survey to evaluate why people liked particular kinds of music.

In the latest study, the research team looked more closely at groups of 10, with each group containing people who got high, average and low enjoyment from music.

The subjects took part in an experiment asking them to rate the pleasure they got from a particular tune while at the same time researchers monitored bodily changes indicating emotional responses.


They concluded that some healthy people do not enjoy music and have no automatic responses to its sound.

Josep Marco-Pallares, of the University of Barcelona, said: "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.

"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."

The findings were published in the latest issue of the Cell Press journal Current Biology.