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Abnormal neural responses to harmonic syntactic structures in congenital amusia

Zhou, L., Liu, F., Jiang, J., Jiang, H. and Jiang, C. (2019) Abnormal neural responses to harmonic syntactic structures in congenital amusia. Psychophysiology. ISSN 1469-8986 (In Press)

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Abstract/Summary

Harmonic syntactic structures are organized hierarchically through local and long-distance dependencies. The present study investigated whether the processing of harmonic syntactic structures is impaired in congenital amusia, a neurodevelopmental disorder of pitch perception. Harmonic sequences containing two phrases were used as stimuli, in which the first phrase ended with a half cadence and the second with an authentic cadence. In Experiment 1, we manipulated the ending chord in the authentic cadence to be either syntactically regular or irregular. Sixteen amusics and 16 controls judged the expectedness of these chords while their EEG waveforms were recorded. In comparison to the regular endings, irregular endings elicited an ERAN, an N5 and a late positive component in controls but not in amusics, indicating that amusics were impaired in perceiving harmonic syntactic structures induced by local dependencies. In Experiment 2, we manipulated the half cadence of the harmonic sequences to examine the processing of harmonic syntactic structures induced by long-distance dependencies. An ERAN-like response and an N5 were elicited in controls but not in amusics, suggesting that amusics were impaired in processing long-distance syntactic dependencies. Furthermore, for controls, the neural processing of local and long-distance syntactic dependencies was correlated in the late (as indexed by the N5) but not in the early stage. These findings indicate that amusics are impaired in the detection of syntactic violations and subsequent harmonic integration. The implications of these findings in terms of hierarchical music-syntactic processing are discussed.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) Research Network
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Neuroscience
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Language and Cognition
ID Code:83397
Publisher:Wiley

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