Photograph by: Miranda Knox

A recent study wanted to find out whether or not there was a link between those who didn’t enjoy music to the way that the brain functioned. 

Researchers coming from various leading institutes such as the University of Barcelona, Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital of McGill University, came together to find that those who do not enjoy music have a condition called Specific Musical Anhedonia.

In order to fully understand what the condition is and what exactly happens in the brain, the following researchers recruited 45 healthy participants and asked them to complete a questionnaire measuring their level of sensitivity to music and divided them into three groups of sensitivity based on their responses.

The procedure went as follows: the subjects listened to music excerpts inside an fMRI machine while providing pleasure ratings in real time. In order to control the participants’ brain response to reward types, they played a monetary gambling task where they could either win or lose money.

The findings for this study were that while listening to music people with Specific Musical Anhedonia presented a reduction in the activity of the nucleus accumbens, a key subcortical structure of the reward network. It has also shown that this condition did, however, show reduced functional connectivity between cortical regions associated with auditory processing.

Overall, the findings of this particular study show a link between the lack of brain connectivity can be responsible for other deficits in cognitive abilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorder.

This could be explained by a reduced coupling between the bilateral posterior superior temporal sulcus and distributed nodes of the reward system, including the nucleus accumbens.