They demonstrate the relationship between the absence of pleasure in music and social anhedonia

People who do not experience pleasure towards music they tend not to enjoy other stimuli and situations of daily life such as social relationships, according to research by the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) and the International University of La Rioja (UNIR) that makes music a predictor of anhedonia Social.

The work, published in Studies in Psychology, shows that the lack of musical sensitivity is related to the social anhedonia: the greater the inability to enjoy social relationships, the lower the ability to do so with music, and vice versa.

The aim of this study is to show how music can contribute to emotional development during the life of the human being

Jesus Mª Alvarado

“With this study the aim is to make known the way in which music can contribute to the Emotional development during the life of the human being, specifically during the adolescent evolutionary stage, being able to play an essential role in the regulation of intrinsic emotional reactions to anhedonia ”, he highlights Jesus Mª Alvarado, principal investigator of the group Cognitive Psychology: Measurement and Modeling of Processes of the UCM.

More music in the centers, better integration

To conduct the study, the researchers created six previously unreleased musical compositions to evoke basic emotions. 153 music professionals and 303 students evaluated their level of arousal (level of activation or excitement) and valence (pleasure evoked by musical fragments), being able to verify a high consistency between the results of both groups.

Subsequently, using a structural equation model, a statistically significant high correlation was observed between the latent means of valence and the Anticipatory and Consumatory Pleasure Scale (ACIPS) used to measure levels of social anhedonia.

Anhedonia, the researchers explain, is seen in disorders such as Autistic spectrum wave schizophrenia. It is a construct related to the difficulty in adequately processing emotional stimuli and reward processes, considered a maladaptive factor characterized by loss of pleasure. Social anhedonia, in particular, is conceived as the lack of interest or diminished abilities to experience pleasure and interpersonal reward in social relationships.

Instrumental practice in educational centers can help manage problems of social isolation

Based on previous research from which it is emphasized that music is a stimulus that can produce as much pleasure as money, sex or food. “We believe that the conclusions derived from these investigations can provide solid theoretical bases that allow rethink intervention strategies from some disciplines such as music therapy or in educational, community or health fields ”, adds María García, a researcher whose doctoral thesis is part of this research.

Furthermore, the study authors are convinced that “increasing listening to music and instrumental practice in educational centers it can help to deal with problems of social isolation that can ultimately generate harassment problems ”.


García-Rodríguez, M. et al. “Pleasure in music and its relationship with social anhedonia”. Studies in Psychology.

Fountain: UCM

Rights: Creative Commons.

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