Poster C18, Sunday, March 26, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Dissociation Between Perceived and Felt Emotions in Musical Anhedonia
Emily Przysinda1, Matthew Sachs2, Yvonne Leung3, Tima Zeng1, Psyche Loui1; 1Wesleyan University, 2University of Southern Califonia, 3Western Sydney University
Music elicits emotions in all human cultures, but several recent reports have demonstrated the existence of specific musical anhedonia: the lack of emotional response to music. Here we report a case study on BW, a subject with musical anhedonia. BW self-reported a socially debilitating lack of emotional experience from music, despite years of musical training and intact emotional response to visual art. Baseline perceptual testing showed normal audiometric responses and normal sensitivity to musical pitch. The Physical Anhedonia Scale showed normal hedonic responses overall, but below-average scores on auditory items specifically. The Barcelona Music Reward Questionnaire and the Aesthetic Experience Scale-Music both showed abnormally low (>3SD below published norms) scores on all subscales of musical emotion and reward. However, BW showed normal responses to auditory and musical emotional identification and categorization tests including the Emotional Bursts (Vocal and Instrumental subtests) and Macquarie Battery for Emotional Prosody. Preliminary results from Diffusion Tensor Imaging showed that compared to age-matched controls, BW has less volume in white matter pathways from the right superior temporal gyrus to the anterior insula and medial prefrontal cortex. Together, results support a dissociation between perceived and felt emotion. Emotional content from auditory signals can be perceived and identified without being accessible to emotional experience. The neural mechanism underlying this dissociation likely involves a disconnect between temporal lobe regions that acquire and store perceptual cues for emotion, and insula and MPFC that link these cues to changes in arousal, thus impairing the emotional experience of music.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotion-cognition interactions