A new study reveals that music does not appeal to everyone, contrary to the belief that music is a universal language.
There are people who are perfectly able to experience pleasure in other ways who simply don't get music in the way the rest of us do.
The researchers refer to this newly described condition as specific musical anhedonia-in other words, the specific inability to experience pleasure from music.
"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," Josep Marco-Pallares of the University of Barcelona, said.
The researchers previously found hints about this form of anhedonia after they developed a questionnaire to evaluate individual differences in musical reward.
Those evaluations found some individuals who reported low sensitivity to music but average sensitivity to other kinds of reward. But multiple explanations are possible for these low music sensitivities.
For instance, some people might seem to dislike music because they have trouble perceiving it, a condition called amusia. Or maybe some people simply answered the questions inaccurately.
The new study is published in the Cell Press journal Current Biology.