“Out-of-Pitch” but Still “In-Time”

An Auditory Psychophysical Study in Congenital Amusic Adults

Authors

  • KRISTA L. HYDE,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Montreal, C.P. 6128 succ. Centre-ville, Montreal (Qc), H3C 3J7, Canada; Research Centre of the Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal, Montreal (Qc), H3W 1W5, Canada
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  • ISABELLE PERETZ

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychology, University of Montreal, C.P. 6128 succ. Centre-ville, Montreal (Qc), H3C 3J7, Canada; Research Centre of the Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal, Montreal (Qc), H3W 1W5, Canada
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Address for correspondence: Prof. Isabelle Peretz, Department of Psychology, University of Montreal, C.P. 6128 succ. Centre-ville, Montreal (Qc), H3C 3J7, Canada. Voice: (514) 343 5840; fax: (514) 343 5787; Isabelle.Peretz@umontreal.ca.

Abstract

Abstract: Congenital amusia is a lifelong disability, commonly known as tone deafness, that prevents afflicted individuals from developing basic musical skills despite normal audiometry and above-average intellectual, memory, and language skills. Although it is estimated that 4% of the general population would be born with such a musical handicap, the underlying cause is presently unknown. Recently, we proposed that this disorder could be traced to a deficit in pitch perception on the basis of a single case.4 Here we provide psychophysical evidence for the existence of a generalized defect that is both fine grained and specific to pitch because time is unaffected.

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