Impaired short-term memory for pitch in congenital amusia.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Brain Res, Volume 1640, Issue Pt B, p.251-63 (2016)


Auditory Perception, Auditory Perceptual Disorders, Brain, Humans, Memory Disorders, Memory, Short-Term


<p>Congenital amusia is a neuro-developmental disorder of music perception and production. The hypothesis is that the musical deficits arise from altered pitch processing, with impairments in pitch discrimination (i.e., pitch change detection, pitch direction discrimination and identification) and short-term memory. The present review article focuses on the deficit of short-term memory for pitch. Overall, the data discussed here suggest impairments at each level of processing in short-term memory tasks; starting with the encoding of the pitch information and the creation of the adequate memory trace, the retention of the pitch traces over time as well as the recollection and comparison of the stored information with newly incoming information. These impairments have been related to altered brain responses in a distributed fronto-temporal network, associated with decreased connectivity between these structures, as well as in abnormalities in the connectivity between the two auditory cortices. In contrast, amusic participants׳ short-term memory abilities for verbal material are preserved. These findings show that short-term memory deficits in congenital amusia are specific to pitch, suggesting a pitch-memory system that is, at least partly, separated from verbal memory. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled SI: Auditory working memory.</p>

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