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Neuropsychologia. 2011 Apr;49(5):961-969. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.02.002. Epub 2011 Feb 21.

Born to dance but beat deaf: a new form of congenital amusia.

Author information

1
International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research (BRAMS), Pavillon 1420 boul. Mont Royal. Université de Montréal, Case Postale 6128, Station Centre-Ville, Montreal, Québec, Canada H3C 3J7; Department of Psychology, University of Montreal, C.P. 6128, Succursale Centre-Ville, Montréal, Québec, Canada H3C 3J7. Electronic address: jessicaphillipssilver@gmail.com.
2
Finnish Centre of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Music Research, University of Jyväskylä, Department of Music, P.O. Box 35, FI-40014 University of Jyväskylä, Finland.
3
International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research (BRAMS), Pavillon 1420 boul. Mont Royal. Université de Montréal, Case Postale 6128, Station Centre-Ville, Montreal, Québec, Canada H3C 3J7.
4
International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research (BRAMS), Pavillon 1420 boul. Mont Royal. Université de Montréal, Case Postale 6128, Station Centre-Ville, Montreal, Québec, Canada H3C 3J7; Department of Psychology, McGill University, 1205 Dr. Penfield Avenue, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 1B1.
5
International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research (BRAMS), Pavillon 1420 boul. Mont Royal. Université de Montréal, Case Postale 6128, Station Centre-Ville, Montreal, Québec, Canada H3C 3J7; Department of Psychology, University of Montreal, C.P. 6128, Succursale Centre-Ville, Montréal, Québec, Canada H3C 3J7. Electronic address: isabelle.peretz@umontreal.ca.

Abstract

Humans move to the beat of music. Despite the ubiquity and early emergence of this response, some individuals report being unable to feel the beat in music. We report a sample of people without special training, all of whom were proficient at perceiving and producing the musical beat with the exception of one case ("Mathieu"). Motion capture and psychophysical tests revealed that people synchronized full-body motion to music and detected when a model dancer was not in time with the music. In contrast, Mathieu failed to period- and phase-lock his movement to the beat of most music pieces, and failed to detect most asynchronies of the model dancer. Mathieu's near-normal synchronization with a metronome suggests that the deficit concerns beat finding in the context of music. These results point to time as having a distinct neurobiological origin from pitch in music processing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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