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Neurocase. 2011 Oct;17(5):410-7. doi: 10.1080/13554794.2010.532139. Epub 2011 Jun 30.

Musical anhedonia: selective loss of emotional experience in listening to music.

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  • 1Department of Dementia Prevention and Therapeutics, Graduate School of Medicine, Mie University, Mie, Japan.


Recent case studies have suggested that emotion perception and emotional experience of music have independent cognitive processing. We report a patient who showed selective impairment of emotional experience only in listening to music, that is musical anhednia. A 71-year-old right-handed man developed an infarction in the right parietal lobe. He found himself unable to experience emotion in listening to music, even to which he had listened pleasantly before the illness. In neuropsychological assessments, his intellectual, memory, and constructional abilities were normal. Speech audiometry and recognition of environmental sounds were within normal limits. Neuromusicological assessments revealed no abnormality in the perception of elementary components of music, expression and emotion perception of music. Brain MRI identified the infarct lesion in the right inferior parietal lobule. These findings suggest that emotional experience of music could be selectively impaired without any disturbance of other musical, neuropsychological abilities. The right parietal lobe might participate in emotional experience in listening to music.

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