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Neuroreport. 2006 Dec 18;17(18):1853-7.

Neural correlates of absolute pitch differ between blind and sighted musicians.

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Neuroimaging Laboratory, Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Several reports have indicated a higher incidence of absolute pitch in blind than in sighted musicians. Employing a pitch memory task, we examined whether a blind absolute pitch musician would rely on different neural correlates than a group of sighted absolute pitch musicians. The blind musician showed significantly more activation of bihemispheric visual association areas, lingual gyrus, parietal and frontal areas than the sighted musicians. Sighted musicians showed more activation of the right primary auditory cortex and the cerebellum when compared with the blind musician. These differences in the activation pattern suggest the use of a different neural network including visual association areas while performing pitch categorization and identification in this blind musician in comparison with sighted musicians.

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