Monday, February 25, 2008

Emerging Evidence

1. In 2007, a research study of amusic vs. control families showed that 39% of first-degree relatives of the amusic families had the disorder, whereas only 3% had amusia in control families. For further information refer to, "The Genetics of Congenital Amusia (Tone Deafness): A Family-Aggregation Study" by Peretz, Cummings and Dube.

2. Krysta L. Hyde, et al. (2007) Cortical thickness in congenital amusia: When less is better than more.

The study reveals that amusia subjects have thicker cortices, with reduced white matter in the right inferior fontal gyrus and the right auditory cortex compared to those who are musically intact. This finding suggests that the presence of cortical malformations have compromised the normal development of the right fronto-temporal pathway and the importance of neural interconnectivity in the appreciation of music.

3. Gosselin, N. et al. (2006) Emotional responses to unpleasant music correlate with damage to parahippocampal cortex.

In order to detect whether emotional reaction to music correlates to a particular brain structure, this paper investigates the role of the parahippocampal gyrus by presenting ‘pleasant’ and ‘unpleasant’ music to patients with medial temporal lobe lesions and matched controls. Results reveal that patients with lesions on the left or right parahippocampal cortex provide atypical judgments to dissonant (unpleasant) music by giving it a slightly pleasant result, while the control group responded to 'pleasant' music as happy and 'unpleasant' music as dissonant.

4. Douglas, KM ande Bilkey, DK (2007). Amusia is associated with deficits in spatial processing. Nature Neuroscience, 10, 915-921.

This article reports that amusia is strongly related to spatial processing deficits in adults. The study indicates that processing pitch in music depends on cognitive mechanisms that are also involved with processing spatial representations in other modalities.

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