STUDIES CARRIED OUT IN NONMUSICAL DOMAINS provide evidence that abnormal responses to emotionally neutral stimuli are associated with medial temporal lobe (MTL) dysfunction at the level of the amygdala. In this investigation,we propose that music will be an adequate candidate to examine the role of MTL structures in judging emotional neutrality. By testing 43 patients with temporal lobe lesions and 19 controls in a task involving classification of neutral, happy, sad, and distressing music, we found that the identification of neutral stimuli was selectively impaired in patients with MTL dysfunction. This finding suggests the implication of the amygdala in classifying emotionally neutral stimuli, supporting previous neuroimaging studies.We discuss the present data in relation to facial expressions and present an intriguing case of affective disturbance resulting from a head injury to emphasize the relevance of using music to assess the ability to detect neutrality in neurological and psychiatric patients.
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