Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The nature of likes and dislikes

Why do different people like and dislike different food? One could answer by implying that the sensations associated with a certain food are the same for everybody and people just differ in terms of what sensations they like. However, that answer seems circular and unsatisfying. I think it's more likely that different people experience the same food differently. For some this is a pleasant experience and so they like the food, while for others it is an unpleasant experience and so they don't like the food.

My own experiences with music seem to support this theory. I remember when I was mainly listening to eurodance and a friend introduced me to electronic music without vocals. I remarked that it seemed like it might "go somewhere" like the start of a eurodance song but it never got there. Later when I started to like electronic music it wasn't as if I just started liking how I perceived it before; instead I perceived it in a new and more enjoyable way. Later the same thing happened as I explored other genres. It was always like learning a new way to perceive music rather than like starting to like the same perceptions I felt before.

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