Congenital amusia and speech perception

Congenital amusia is a neuro-developmental disorder that is neither caused by insufficient exposure to music, nor by a hearing deficiency, brain damage or intellectual impairment. People with congenital amusia (amusics) face lifelong impairments in the musical domain (music often causes discomfort to them). They cannot detect a pitch difference between two adjacent tones if this difference is one semitone or less.

Our research group employs EEG and perception experiments to test the perception of small pitch differences and of quantitative and qualitative vowel differences, and infers from these findings the size of learnable phonetic differences and discusses the possible problems that amusics face when learning a language.

In March 2015 we organized the workshop "Shared processing in language and music: what neurocognition and disorders reveal", supported by a SMART grant.

On October 27, 2016 we had a symposium on congenital amusia.

Silke Hamann (University of Amsterdam)
Jasmin Pfeifer (University of Amsterdam, Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf)

Associated members:
Paul Boersma (University of Amsterdam)
Henkjan Honing (University of Amsterdam)
Peter Indefrey (Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf)