Individuals with congenital amusia have a lifelong history of unreliable pitch processing. Accordingly, they downweight pitch cues during speech perception and instead rely on other dimensions such as duration. We investigated the neural basis for this strategy. During fMRI, individuals with amusia (N=15) and controls (N=15) read sentences where a comma indicated a grammatical phrase boundary. They then heard two sentences spoken that differed only in pitch and/or duration cues, and selected the best match for the written sentence. Prominent reductions in functional connectivity were detected in the amusia group, between left prefrontal language-related regions and right hemisphere pitch-related regions, which reflected the between-group differences in cue weights in the same groups of listeners. Connectivity differences between these regions were not present during a control task. Our results indicate that the reliability of perceptual dimensions is linked with functional connectivity between frontal and perceptual regions, and suggest a compensatory mechanism.
The data that support the findings of this study are openly available in the Birkbeck repository (https://researchdata.bbk.ac.uk/65/), as are the speech stimuli (Jasmin et al., 2020b; https://researchdata.bbk.ac.uk/37/). The speech task can be demoed at the following link: (Gorilla Open Materials; https://gorilla.sc/openmaterials/102786).
Altered functional connectivity during speech perception in congenital amusiaBirkbeck Research Data, doi:10.18743/DATA.00065.
- Adam Taylor Tierney
- Kyle Jasmin
- Kyle Jasmin
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: All participants gave informed consent and ethical approval was obtained from the UCL Research Ethics Committee (fMRI/2016/001) and the Birkbeck Department of Psychology Research Ethics Committee (161711).
- Andrew J Oxenham, University of Minnesota, United States
© 2020, Jasmin et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.