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BMC Psychiatry. 2012 Apr 19;12:32. doi: 10.1186/1471-244X-12-32.

Impaired pitch identification as a potential marker for depression.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatic Medicine, RWTH Aachen University, Pauwelsstr 30, D-52074 Aachen, Germany. mschwenzer@ukaachen.de

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Impaired auditory performance has been considered as marker for depression. The present study tested whether pitch perception is affected in depression and whether the impairment is task-specific or reflects global dysfunction.

METHODS:

Twelve depressive in-patients and 12 non-depressive participants, half of the sample women, volunteered. The participants performed pitch identification using a four-choice reaction task, pitch contour perception, and pitch discrimination.

RESULTS:

During pitch identification but not during pitch contour perception or pitch discrimination, depressive patients responded less accurate than non-depressive participants (F = 3.3, p = 0.047). An analysis of covariates revealed that only female but not male depressive patients identified pitches poorly (Z = -2.2, p = 0.025) and inaccurate pitch identification correlated with high scores in the Beck Depression Inventory in women (r = -0.8, p = 0.001) but not in men (r = -0.1, p = 0.745). Patients did not differ from controls in reaction time or responsiveness.

CONCLUSIONS:

Impaired pitch perception in depression is task-specific. Therefore, cognitive deficits in depression are circumscribed and not global. Reduced pitch identification in depression was associated with female sex. We suggest that impaired pitch identification merits attention as a potential marker for depression in women.

PMID:
22515473
PMCID:
PMC3439259
DOI:
10.1186/1471-244X-12-32
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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