“The first surprise is that some of the participants had trouble bringing music from home,” says Josep Marco-Pallares, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Barcelona and senior author of the study. These people didn’t have any music — no MP3s, no CDs. No Spotify or Pandora.
Then the 30 volunteers were asked to listen to tunes judged pleasurable by other college students, ranging from Puccini’s “Nessun dorma” to Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge over Troubled Water.” The scientists measured participants’ heart rate and skin conductance, which are considered physiological measures of emotion.
The people who had said they got no pleasure from music showed no physical response, while the music lovers did. “The other participants reported chills when listening to music,” Marco-Pallares told Shots. “With our anhedonic group, they had no chills. They had no real response to music.”