There are some people for whom music is essential for surviving and imagining a life without it is impossible for them. When these people get to know that, unlike them, there are people who do not care for music even a bit, it becomes difficult for them to comprehend their new findings. However, it is true that around 3 to 5% of people have music anhedonia. Anhedonia is the incapability of deriving pleasure from things that most people find enjoyable, this anhedonia means not being able to derive pleasure from music.
Music is a human ability that dates back to the beginning of our species and it involves most complex human cognitive abilities. People with this condition are perfectly normal in every other way, they just don’t derive pleasure from music. They, however, derive pleasure from other things like food, social contact, sex, money, sports, etc. Many of them are also able to understand emotions present in particular musical passages but they just don’t derive pleasure through it.
Our brain understands musicality as a tool for communication, to express, and to regulate emotions of our own as well as of others. Professors Psyche Loui and Ajay Satpute of Northeastern University are studying to know if the phenomenon that causes this condition could also be what impairs social bonding, something that is associated with autism spectrum disorders.
If there is a link between the two, it doesn’t matter because either way, it will result in a better understanding of how music affects our reward system. This would help in developing more effective treatments for different neurological conditions. If there is a similarity between the breakdowns of communication in a brain affected by autism and those affected by music anhedonia, it would help to figure out who has music anhedonia which would in turn help to rule out musical therapy for them.