Not Everyone Likes Music, Study Says

April 15, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. pleasurable /ˈplɛʒərəəl/ (adj.) – referring to something that is pleasant and enjoyable
Example: Good music is pleasurable.

2. perceive /pərˈsiv/ (v.) – to understand something, often with the use of the senses
Example: Babies perceive music differently from adults.

3. entail /ɛnˈteɪl/ (v.) – to involve or require something
Example: Finishing the task entails discipline and hard work.

4. disposition /ˌdɪsəˈzɪʃən/ (n.) – one’s current condition or mood
Example: The performer’s happy disposition appealed to the audience.

5. groundbreaking /ˈgraʊndˌbreɪɪŋ/ (adj.) – referring to something that has just been discovered and is unlike any other thing
Example: The scientist became famous for his groundbreaking discovery.


Read the text below.
A recent study published in the Current Biology journal found that some people do not find music pleasurable.

A team of researchers from the University of Barcelona discovered that some people seem not to experience any pleasure from music. Josep Marco-Pallarés [puh-LAH-rihs] and his team call this condition specific musical anhedonia.

In an experiment, participants were divided into three groups based on their ability to perceive music and their level of music appreciation. The first group consisted of people with high sensitivity to musical rewards. People with average pleasure response to music were included in the second group. Subjects in the third group were those who have lower pleasure ratings in response to music.

All participants took part in two different experiments. In the first experiment, the subjects were instructed to rate how pleasurable they find the music played for them. The second experiment involved a task wherein subjects got monetary rewards for winning a game.

Both of these experiments entailed the activation of the reward system and the production of dopamine.

Results show that some people with healthy disposition did not enjoy music. They felt normal pleasure in other rewards like money, which means that the reward system in their brain is not in any way impaired.

Researchers believe that this study can reveal something about the different ways to access the human reward system. They think that this groundbreaking discovery might have huge implications for disorders including addiction.

Marco-Pallarés also believes that the identification of individuals with ‘specific musical anhedonia’ can help experts understand the neural basis of music.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         How do you respond to music? Do you find it very enjoyable?
·         What do you think are the benefits of the information from the study?

Discussion B

·         How important is music to you?
·         What are the things that you consider pleasurable and rewarding? Explain.


April 15, 2014