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Auditory imagery in congenital amusia

Loutrari, A., Ansell, K., Beaman, P., Jiang, C. and Liu, F. ORCID: (2023) Auditory imagery in congenital amusia. Musicae Scientiae, 27 (3). pp. 698-716. ISSN 2045-4147

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1177/10298649221122870


Congenital amusia is a neurogenetic disorder affecting various aspects of music and speech processing. Although perception and auditory imagery in the general population may share mechanisms, it is not known whether previously documented perceptual impairments in amusia are coupled with difficulties in imaging auditory objects. We employed the Bucknell Auditory Imagery Scale (BAIS) to assess participants’ self-perceived voluntary imagery and a short earworm questionnaire to gauge their subjective experience of involuntary musical imagery. Thirty-two participants with amusia and 34 matched controls, recruited based on their performance on the Montreal Battery of Evaluation of Amusia (MBEA), filled out the questionnaires in their own time. The earworm scores of amusic participants were not statistically significantly different from those of controls. By contrast, their scores on vividness and control of auditory imagery were significantly lower relative to controls. Overall, results suggest that the presence of amusia may not have an adverse effect on generating involuntary musical imagery – at the level of self-report – but still significantly reduces the individual’s self-rated voluntary imagery of musical, vocal, and environmental sounds. We discuss the findings in the light of previous research on explicit musical judgements and implicit engagement with music, while also touching on some statistical power considerations.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN)
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) Research Network
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Perception and Action
ID Code:107045


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