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Re: Do deaf humans (CI users) like music?

>"I have some hesitation to believe that following some deaf people who get
an CI on early age can shed much light on the development of music
perception as we also know many people who, while having good hearing do not
have interest in and appreciation of music."


Leon, I agree that enjoyment/appreciation of music would be somewhat
difficult to study.  However, many aspects of music are perceived by
non-musicians as well as for musicians.  For instance, most people can tell
if they hear a "sour" note in a melody, whether or not they have had formal
training in music.  In several event-related potential studies by Koelsch et
al., incongruent chords elicited similar ERP components (i.e. ERANs and N5s)
in both musicians and non-musicians.  And in several ERP studies by Mireille
Besson and her colleagues, deviant notes and chords elicited late positive
components (or P600s) in musicians and non-musicians (although these
components are larger in musicians).  In addition, studies by Bharucha &
Stoeckig show priming effects for chords that are related with respect to
Western Tonal rules (for instance, in-tune target chords were more quickly
and more likely to be judged in tune when following a related chord).  These
priming effects did not correlate with the subject's amount of musical

What would be interesting (and informative about the development of music
perception) would be if congenitally deaf CI users exhibit these behavioral
and/or ERP effects ONLY if the CI were implanted before a "critical" age (or
if these effects vary gradually with respect to age at CI implantation).
These results could provide information about how the brain's ability to
learn musical rules (and rules in other auditory domains such as speech) and
how this ability changes with age and decline in neural plasticity.


>"On the other hand I can imagine that if she would get an implant at her
age the unidentifiable noises coming from such an implant would interfere
with her way of appreciating music. This is certainly the experience of one
of her sisters."


This is interesting.  Did her sister perceive music as a bunch of random,
distracting noises?  Do you know how old she was when she received her CI?


Robbin A. Wood
Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience
Georgetown University
3900 Reservoir Rd., NW
Washington DC 20007
(202) 687-8449

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