Congenital amusia

Victoria J Williamson, Lauren Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


For most people, music, like language, is acquired effortlessly in early life. But a few percent of the population have lifelong difficulties in the perception and production of music. In this chapter we discuss psycho-acoustic and behavioral studies that have attempted to delineate the nature of the auditory perceptual deficits in this group and consider whether these difficulties extend outside the musical domain. Finally, we review structural imaging studies in this group which point to subtle anomalies in temporal and frontal areas. We suggest that amusia can be considered a disorder of neural development, which has relatively specific consequences at the behavioral level. Studies of congenital amusia provide a unique window on the neurocognitive architecture of music processing.

Original languageEnglish
Book seriesHandbook of Clinical Neurology
Pages (from-to)237-9
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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