Griffiths et al. (2004) describe a patient who suffered an infarct that left him unable to experience emotion in response to music. The lesion mainly affected the left insula, but extended into the left frontal cortex and amygdala. Speech, which was also initially affected, was recovered after 12 months. However, even though his perception of diverse musical features was normal, 18 months after the stroke the patient was still emotionally unaffected by music, despite the fact that during that time he was able to enjoy other activities. These observations led the authors to suggest that perceptual and emotional components of music processing might rest on functionally and anatomically distinct neural networks, and that the insula is a crucial piece in the neural underpinnings of the emotional response to music.
Sellal et al. (2003) present a case of an epilepsy patient who underwent left temporal lobe resection, which only spared the hippocampus, the parahippocampal gyrus, and the amygdala. This case is interesting because the surgically removed brain region corresponds roughly to that which typically degenerates in the form of frontotemporal dementia mentioned above. During the first year after surgery the patient became aware that he no longer enjoyed listening to rock music, and that he now preferred Celtic or Corsican polyphonic singing. His taste in literature also shifted, in this case from science fiction to Kafkian-inspired novels. The authors report that the patient also began showing increased preference for realistic paintings, enjoying the small details that previously went unnoticed to him. These changes in aesthetic preference are in contrast with his unchanged preferences for food, fashion or faces.
(c) Cela-Conde, C. J., Agnati, L., Huston, J. P., Mora, F., & Nadal, M. (2011). The neural foundations of aesthetic appreciation. Progress in neurobiology, 94(1), 39-48. Elsevier Ltd. doi:10.1016/j.pneurobio.2011.03.003