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Music Science

It's True: Some People Just Don't Like Music 268

sciencehabit writes "Researchers have found that between 1 and 3% of people don't like music of any kind. These people aren't tone deaf or incapable of grasping the emotional meaning of a song—their brains simply didn’t find listening to music rewarding. While some psychiatric disorders are associated with the loss of the ability to feel pleasure, called anhedonia, the music-haters represent the first evidence for not feeling pleasure from only one specific pleasing stimulant, a condition that has been dubbed music-specific anhedonia. Curious where you fall on the music reward spectrum? The researchers have an online quiz." I know I actively prefer silence to most music, but what I like, I like intensely. Update: 03/06 21:48 GMT by T : Sorry for the garbled submission; now fixed.
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It's True: Some People Just Don't Like Music

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  • Ringing in my Ears (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Danathar ( 267989 ) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @04:33PM (#46422493) Journal

    Most of my youth was listening to Rush, Metallica and other hard rock/Metal bands of the 80's.

    As a result I have ringing in my ears that I only notice when it's silent.

    Have you ever heard "The Silence is Deafening?" Well, for me silence can literally BE deafening.

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @04:47PM (#46422651) Homepage Journal

    Let's discard the people who can't recognize tunes or recognize emotions in music -- although they are interesting in themselves. Can the people who don't like music be trained to like music? In other words do they lack associated life experiences with music?

    Another question is whether a better understanding would lead to enjoyment. We tend *not* to like music we haven't been exposed to (e.g. foreign music or young people's music).

    Personally, I like to listen to music when I'm building something; this also correlates to what works for me when listening to lectures. I seldom need to look at notes, but I have to take them otherwise my mind wanders. I can even doodle, it doesn't matter. Somehow having my hands occupied seems to help my mind track external stimuli better.

  • Re:HEY (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @04:47PM (#46422653) Homepage Journal

    So very little music you hear out today can be considered "musical" at all.

    I prefer the days (I'm a rock/blues type) when people/groups generally wrote their own songs, played their own instruments, and aside from a bit of reverb, and other treatments shy of fucking Autotune...had real vocals on their songs.

    I guess that's why I still see young kids of today, wearing AC/DC or Stones' tshirts (reproductions), and listening to Led Zeppelin, when they should have really come up with giants of music of their own day to replace the ones of my day.

    I was shocked the other day really.

    It was an afternoon on the way home from work not long ago. I was warm and I had the windows down on the car, and I was blaring Dazed and Confused, the 30 min live version from TSRTS album. It was during the extender part of Jimmy Page bowing his guitar, just a lot of noise really, and unless you knew this piece on a live'd not know what this noise was, especially considering the age of the piece.

    Well, I pulled up, rolled up the windows, turned the music down and the car off and got out to walk into the store.

    Just outside the store, a young stock boy, like in his upper teens, was sitting outside smoking a cig on break I guess. As I walked by, he spoke to me and said "Oh man, I love Zeppelin...dazed and confused!!"

    I smiled and said yeah, good stuff or something like that.

    As I walked in the store, I thought more about it and thought, goodness...HTF did he know that song?

    Its that the old stuff is still around...because something happened along the way, and nothing really great or unifying in music happened much after my younger years, and the old stuff is still strong enough to keep a following. It hasn't been supplanted yet.

    I think part of it was...most music through my era, had been very closely built or nicked from the music of the generation before it. Somewhere in the late 80s or 90's maybe, there was a break in the continuum. And music splintered, and money took over...and well, you just didn't get the continuing stream of artist with control over their music and time to hone their skills, style and following like say a Led Zeppelin did. Music became throw away, and while there have always been one hit wonders, that is now the norm. Groups don't earn or aren't given a chance to develop staying power. Or, maybe they just don't work as hard to know their instruments and music. I dunno.

    Maybe some combination of all of the above.

    Ok, now, get off my lawn, and lemme get my anti-static gun to "clear" my album I'm about to throw on the turntable.

  • by jmichaelg ( 148257 ) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @04:53PM (#46422727) Journal
    Richard Feynman said music sounded like noise to him. Didn't make any difference what type of music it was. He did however, like rhythm which is why he played percussion instruments.
  • by ohieaux ( 2860669 ) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @05:15PM (#46422959)
    I've seen estimates from the US government at 2%. Sounds like 1-3% wouldn't be able to hear music anyway. Didn't RTFA, perhaps they accounted for that.
  • by ThatAblaze ( 1723456 ) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @05:21PM (#46423007)


    I am one of the 1-3% mentioned. When I put my headphones on it's always an audio book. When I'm not listening to a book or doing something useful I find silence to be a lot more fulfilling than music. Music just gets in the way of constructive thought, and once you have heard a song a couple of times you've heard the song. Time to move on to something new.

    Music just seems like a low-productivity and meaninglessly repetitive medium, irregardless of the quality of the song being played.

    This is something I've always believed, but this is the first time I've ever seen that belief validated in any way by anyone. I think society does an excellent job of training people to like music already, and of telling people that they are weird if they don't.

  • Re:Mind = Blown (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 06, 2014 @05:23PM (#46423017)

    Actually "popular music" means "everything that isn't classical music." It is not a function of how many people like it.

  • Re:HEY (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 06, 2014 @08:43PM (#46424717)

    Its true, I have no feelings for any music I have had friends in the past try exposing me to different forms of music thinking that it was just because I haven't found what I liked nothing worked.

    I can appreciate the skill that some musical forms take (like complex singing or skilful instrument playing) but have no feelings for any of the musical forms. I don't like or dislike any form of music apart from my appreciation for the skill.

    I have not been in any accidents have suffered no trauma, I own no music & no cd's or any music players (no mp3 player's, record) no posters or music merchandise, when I drive I watch the road it doesn't even occur to me to turn the stereo on.

    I do not enjoy ANY Music, oh and I speak 3 languages so I'm not sure how much of a precursor to language music is or its just an assumption made that music came before language.

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