Skip to main content

Predictive Coding in Musical Anhedonia: A Study of Groove 

Predictive Coding in Musical Anhedonia: A Study of Groove 

Name:Peter, Benson

School/Affiliation:Northeastern University

Co-Authors:Nicholas Kathios, Psyche Loui

Virtual or In-person:In-person


Groove, or the pleasurable urge to move to music, offers unique insight into the relationship between sensorimotor coupling with music and emotion. The predictive coding of music model suggests that groove is linked to predictions of music formed over time, with stimuli of moderate complexity rated as most pleasurable and most likely to engender movement. At the same time, individuals vary in the pleasure they derive from music listening: individuals with musical anhedonia report reduced pleasure during music listening. Little is known about musical anhedonics’ subjective experience of groove. Here we examine the relationship between individual differences in music reward sensitivity and the pleasurable urge to move to music. Online listeners who varied in musical reward sensitivity (n=287) listened to 15 drum-breaks that varied in perceived complexity, for both how pleasurable they were and how much they wanted to move to them. Musical anhedonics (n=13) had significantly lower pleasure ratings, but not lower groove ratings, compared to controls (n=13) matched on music perception abilities and general anhedonia. Pleasure ratings were most strongly related with music reward sensitivity for highly perceptually complex stimuli, whereas move ratings were predicted by sensorimotor subscale even after controlling for all other subscales of musical reward. Results highlight the multidimensional nature of musical reward and suggest that pleasure and wanting to move are driven by overlapping but separable mechanisms that vary by stimulus complexity.

Poster PDFPoster PDF