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A music perception disorder (congenital amusia) influences speech comprehension

Liu, Fang and Jiang, Cunmei and Wang, Bei and Xu, Yi and Patel, Aniruddh D. (2015) 'A music perception disorder (congenital amusia) influences speech comprehension.' Neuropsychologia, 66. pp. 111-118. ISSN 0028-3932

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Abstract

This study investigated the underlying link between speech and music by examining whether and to what extent congenital amusia, a musical disorder characterized by degraded pitch processing, would impact spoken sentence comprehension for speakers of Mandarin, a tone language. Sixteen Mandarin-speaking amusics and 16 matched controls were tested on the intelligibility of news-like Mandarin sentences with natural and flat fundamental frequency (F0) contours (created via speech resynthesis) under four signal-to-noise (SNR) conditions (no noise, +5, 0, and −5 dB SNR). While speech intelligibility in quiet and extremely noisy conditions (SNR=−5 dB) was not significantly compromised by flattened F0, both amusic and control groups achieved better performance with natural-F0 sentences than flat-F0 sentences under moderately noisy conditions (SNR=+5 and 0 dB). Relative to normal listeners, amusics demonstrated reduced speech intelligibility in both quiet and noise, regardless of whether the F0 contours of the sentences were natural or flattened. This deficit in speech intelligibility was not associated with impaired pitch perception in amusia. These findings provide evidence for impaired speech comprehension in congenital amusia, suggesting that the deficit of amusics extends beyond pitch processing and includes segmental processing.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Congenital amusia; Speech comprehension; Music perception; Pitch; Segment; Noise
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2015 11:19
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2015 11:19
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/15215

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