- Impaired emotional processing of chords in congenital amusia: Electrophysiological and behavioral evidence. [Journal Article]
- BCBrain Cogn 2019 Jun 12; 135:103577
- This study investigated whether individuals with congenital amusia, a neurogenetic disorder of musical pitch perception, were able to process musical emotions in single chords either automatically or…
This study investigated whether individuals with congenital amusia, a neurogenetic disorder of musical pitch perception, were able to process musical emotions in single chords either automatically or consciously. In Experiments 1 and 2, we used a cross-modal affective priming paradigm to elicit automatic emotional processing through ERPs, in which target facial expressions were preceded by either affectively congruent or incongruent chords with a stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) of 200 msec. Results revealed automatic emotional processing of major/minor triads (Experiment 1) and consonant/dissonant chords (Experiment 2) in controls, who showed longer reaction times and increased N400 for incongruent than congruent trials, while amusics failed to exhibit such a priming effect at both behavioral and electrophysiological levels. In Experiment 3, we further examined conscious emotional evaluation of the same chords in amusia. Results showed that amusics were unable to consciously differentiate the emotions conveyed by major and minor chords and by consonant and dissonant chords, as compared with controls. These findings suggest the impairment in automatic and conscious emotional processing of music in amusia. The implications of these findings in relation to musical emotional processing are discussed.
- Alice in Wonderland Syndrome as a Presenting Manifestation of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. [Case Reports]
- FNFront Neurol 2019; 10:473
- CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that AIWS is not always as harmless as sometimes suggested, and that CJD, although extremely rare, must be part of its extensive differential diagnosis, notably in the presence of rapid cognitive decline.
- Abnormal neural responses to harmonic syntactic structures in congenital amusia. [Journal Article]
- PPsychophysiology 2019 May 21; :e13394
- In music, harmonic syntactic structures are organized hierarchically through local and long-distance dependencies. This study investigated whether congenital amusia, a neurodevelopmental disorder of …
In music, harmonic syntactic structures are organized hierarchically through local and long-distance dependencies. This study investigated whether congenital amusia, a neurodevelopmental disorder of pitch perception, is associated with impaired processing of harmonic syntactic structures. For stimuli, we used harmonic sequences containing two phrases, where the first phrase ended with a half cadence and the second with an authentic cadence. In Experiment 1, we manipulated the ending chord of the authentic cadence to be either syntactically regular or irregular based on local dependencies. Sixteen amusics and 16 controls judged the expectedness of these chords while their EEG waveforms were recorded. In comparison to the regular endings, irregular endings elicited an ERAN, an N5, and a late positive component in controls but not in amusics, indicating that amusics were impaired in processing local syntactic dependencies. In Experiment 2, we manipulated the half cadence of the harmonic sequences to either adhere to or violate long-distance syntactic dependencies. In response to irregular harmonic sequences, an ERAN-like component and an N5 were elicited in controls but not in amusics, suggesting that amusics were impaired in processing long-distance syntactic dependencies. Furthermore, for controls, the neural processing of local and long-distance syntactic dependencies was correlated at the later integration stage but not at the early detection stage. These findings indicate that amusia is associated with impairment in the detection and integration of local and long-distance syntactic violations. The implications of these findings in terms of hierarchical music-syntactic processing are discussed.
- Talker normalization in typical Cantonese-speaking listeners and congenital amusics: Evidence from event-related potentials. [Journal Article]
- NCNeuroimage Clin 2019 Apr 03; 23:101814
- Despite the lack of invariance in the mapping between the acoustic signal and phonological representation, typical listeners are capable of using information of a talker's vocal characteristics to re…
Despite the lack of invariance in the mapping between the acoustic signal and phonological representation, typical listeners are capable of using information of a talker's vocal characteristics to recognize phonemes, a process known as "talker normalization". The current study investigated the time course of talker normalization in typical listeners and individuals with congenital amusia, a neurodevelopmental disorder of refined pitch processing. We examined the event-related potentials (ERPs) underling lexical tone processing in 24 Cantonese-speaking amusics and 24 typical listeners (controls) in two conditions: blocked-talker and mixed-talker conditions. The results demonstrated that for typical listeners, effects of talker variability can be observed as early as in the N1 time-window (100-150 ms), with the N1 amplitude reduced in the mixed-talker condition. Significant effects were also found in later components: the N2b/c peaked significantly earlier and the P3a and P3b amplitude was enhanced in the blocked-talker condition relative to the mixed-talker condition, especially for the tone pair that is more difficult to discriminate. These results suggest that the blocked-talker mode of stimulus presentation probably facilitates auditory processing and requires less attentional effort with easier speech categorization than the mixed-talker condition, providing neural evidence for the "active control theory". On the other hand, amusics exhibited comparable N1 amplitude to controls in both conditions, but deviated from controls in later components. They demonstrated overall later N2b/c peak latency significantly reduced P3a amplitude in the blocked-talker condition and reduced P3b amplitude irrespective of talker conditions. These results suggest that the amusic brain was intact in the auditory processing of talker normalization processes, as reflected by the comparable N1 amplitude, but exhibited reduced automatic attentional switch to tone changes in the blocked-talker condition, as captured by the reduced P3a amplitude, which presumably underlies a previously reported perceptual "anchoring" deficit in amusics. Altogether, these findings revealed the time course of talker normalization processes in typical listeners and extended the finding that conscious pitch processing is impaired in the amusic brain.
- The Effects of Acoustic Variation on the Perception of Lexical Tone in Cantonese-Speaking Congenital Amusics. [Journal Article]
- JSJ Speech Lang Hear Res 2019 Jan 30; 62(1):190-205
- Purpose Congenital amusia is an inborn neurogenetic disorder of fine-grained pitch processing. This study attempted to pinpoint the impairment mechanism of speech processing in tonal language speaker…
Purpose Congenital amusia is an inborn neurogenetic disorder of fine-grained pitch processing. This study attempted to pinpoint the impairment mechanism of speech processing in tonal language speakers with amusia. We designed a series of perception tasks aiming at selectively probing low-level pitch processing and relatively high-level phonological processing of lexical tones, with an aim to illuminate the deficiency mechanism underlying tone perception in amusia. Method Sixteen Cantonese-speaking amusics and 16 matched controls were tested on the effects of acoustic (talker/syllable) variations on the identification and discrimination of Cantonese tones in two conditions. In the low-variation condition, tones were always associated with the same talker or syllable; in the high-variation condition, tones were associated with either different talkers (with the syllable controlled) or different syllables (with the talker controlled). Results Largely similar results were obtained in talker and syllable variation conditions. Amusics exhibited overall poorer performance than controls in tone identification. Although amusics also demonstrated poorer performance in tone discrimination, the group difference was more obvious in low-variation conditions, where more acoustic constancy was provided. Besides, controls exhibited a greater increase in discrimination sensitivity from high- to low-variation conditions, implying a stronger benefit of acoustic constancy. Conclusions The findings suggested that amusics' lexical tone perception abilities, in terms of both low-level pitch processing and high-level phonological processing, as measured in low- and high-variation conditions, are impaired. Importantly, amusics were more impaired in taking advantage of low acoustic variation contexts and thus less efficiently sharpened their perception of tones when perceptual anchors in talker/syllable were provided, suggesting a possible "anchoring deficit" in congenital amusia. Supplemental Material https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.7616555.
- [No dementia or amusia: Maurice Ravel's disease, a singular disease]. [Journal Article]
- RPRev Prat 2018; 68(7):807-809
- Maurice Ravel's dementia: the silence of a genius. [Journal Article]
- ANArq Neuropsiquiatr 2019; 77(2):136-138
- Maurice Ravel is one of the most important French musicians. In the last years of his life, Ravel was victim of a dementia of uncertain etiology that caused aphasia, apraxia, agraphia and amusia. The…
Maurice Ravel is one of the most important French musicians. In the last years of his life, Ravel was victim of a dementia of uncertain etiology that caused aphasia, apraxia, agraphia and amusia. The artistic brain of the author of eternal musical compositions was progressively silenced due to his neurodegenerative disease. On the 90th anniversary of Boléro, this historical note revisits Ravel's case and discusses the relationship of his dementia to his artistic production. It illustrates the intimacy that can exist between art, music, creativity, and neurology.
- Corrigendum to "Learning for pitch and melody discrimination in congenital amusia" [Cortex 103 (2018) 167-178]. [Published Erratum]
- CCortex 2019; 115:371
- Comorbidity and cognitive overlap between developmental dyslexia and congenital amusia. [Journal Article]
- CNCogn Neuropsychol 2019 Feb - Mar; 36(1-2):1-17
- This study investigated whether there is a co-occurrence between developmental dyslexia and congenital amusia in adults. First, a database of online musical tests on 18,000 participants was analysed.…
This study investigated whether there is a co-occurrence between developmental dyslexia and congenital amusia in adults. First, a database of online musical tests on 18,000 participants was analysed. Self-reported dyslexic participants performed significantly lower on melodic skills than matched controls, suggesting a possible link between reading and musical disorders. In order to test this relationship more directly, we evaluated 20 participants diagnosed with dyslexia, 16 participants diagnosed with amusia, and their matched controls, with a whole battery of literacy (reading, fluency, spelling), phonological (verbal working memory, phonological awareness) and musical tests (melody, rhythm and metre perception, incidental memory). Amusia was diagnosed in six (30%) dyslexic participants and reading difficulties were found in four (25%) amusic participants. Thus, the results point to a moderate comorbidity between amusia and dyslexia. Further research will be needed to determine what factors at the neural and/or cognitive levels are responsible for this co-occurrence.
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- The co-occurrence of pitch and rhythm disorders in congenital amusia. [Journal Article]
- CCortex 2019; 113:229-238
- The most studied form of congenital amusia is characterized by a difficulty with detecting pitch anomalies in melodies, also referred to as pitch deafness. Here, we tested for the presence of associa…
The most studied form of congenital amusia is characterized by a difficulty with detecting pitch anomalies in melodies, also referred to as pitch deafness. Here, we tested for the presence of associated deficits in rhythm processing, beat in particular, in pitch deafness. In Experiment 1, participants performed beat perception and production tasks with musical excerpts of various genres. The results show a beat finding disorder in six of the ten assessed pitch-deaf participants. In order to remove a putative interference of pitch variations with beat extraction, the same participants were tested with percussive rhythms in Experiment 2 and showed a similar impairment. Furthermore, musical pitch and beat processing abilities were correlated. These new results highlight the tight connection between melody and rhythm in music processing that can nevertheless dissociate in some individuals.