Got No Rhythm: 23-Year-Old Man is First Documented Case of Beat Deafness

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No, this is not just an excuse for being a bad dancer. Scientists have confirmed this is an actual condition.

A 23-year-old man named Mathieu has been identified as the first documented case of beat deafness, meaning he cannot feel or move to music’s beat. Mathieu moves to music at a pace unrelated to its actual rhythm. He also cannot recognize when someone else is or is not moving in sync with a song’s beat.

(More on TIME.com: See why so many Americans lose their hearing.)

Mathieu’s issues are not related to tone deafness, as he can sing in tune and recognize familiar songs. With further examination, beat deafness may join tone deafness as a music-specific disorder.

Because language lacks music’s periodic rhythms, it’s unlikely that Mathieu’s beat deafness has any effect on his speech perception.

(More on TIME.com: See the top 10 medical breakthroughs of 2010.)

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