Statistical learning of speech, not music, in congenital amusia.

Abstract:

:The acquisition of both speech and music uses general principles: learners extract statistical regularities present in the environment. Yet, individuals who suffer from congenital amusia (commonly called tone-deafness) have experienced lifelong difficulties in acquiring basic musical skills, while their language abilities appear essentially intact. One possible account for this dissociation between music and speech is that amusics lack normal experience with music. If given appropriate exposure, amusics might be able to acquire basic musical abilities. To test this possibility, a group of 11 adults with congenital amusia, and their matched controls, were exposed to a continuous stream of syllables or tones for 21-minute. Their task was to try to identify three-syllable nonsense words or three-tone motifs having an identical statistical structure. The results of five experiments show that amusics can learn novel words as easily as controls, whereas they systematically fail on musical materials. Thus, inappropriate musical exposure cannot fully account for the musical disorder. Implications of the results for the domain specificity of statistical learning are discussed.

journal_name

Ann N Y Acad Sci

authors

Peretz I,Saffran J,Schön D,Gosselin N

doi

10.1111/j.1749-6632.2011.06429.x

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2012-04-01 00:00:00

pages

361-7

eissn

0077-8923

issn

1749-6632

journal_volume

1252

pub_type

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