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Neuropsychologia. 2009 Oct;47(12):2642-51. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.05.015. Epub 2009 Jun 3.

Cognitive deficits associated with acquired amusia after stroke: a neuropsychological follow-up study.

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Department of Psychology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.


Recent evidence on amusia suggests that our ability to perceive music might be based on the same neural resources that underlie other higher cognitive functions, such as speech perception and spatial processing. We studied the neural correlates of acquired amusia by performing extensive neuropsychological assessments on 53 stroke patients with a left or right hemisphere middle cerebral artery (MCA) stroke 1 week, 3 months, and 6 months after the stroke. In addition, structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed on all patients 1 week and 6 months post-stroke. Based on their performance on a shortened version of the Montreal Battery of Evaluation of Amusia (MBEA), the patients were classified as amusic (n=32) or non-amusic (n=21). MRI results showed that the incidence of auditory cortex and frontal lobe damage was significantly higher in the amusic group than in the non-amusic group, but the two groups did not differ in respect to lesion laterality. Cognitively, amusia was associated with general deficits in working memory and learning, semantic fluency, executive functioning, and visuospatial cognition, as well as hemisphere-specific deficits in verbal comprehension, mental flexibility, and visuospatial attention (unilateral spatial neglect). Moreover, the recovery of music perception ability was related to the recovery of verbal learning, visuospatial perception and attention, and focused attention, especially in amusic patients. Together, these results suggest the ability to perceive music is closely linked to other higher cognitive functions.

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