TitleAction-Perception Mismatch in Tone-Deafness
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsLoui, P, Guenther, FH, Mathys, C, Schlaug, G
JournalCurrent Biology
Date Published04/2008
Keywordsaction,, brain,, Music,, perception,, pitch,, singing, tone-deafness,

The source of conscious experience has fueled scientific and philosophical debates for centuries. In auditory and motor domains, it is yet unknown how consciously and unconsciously obtained information may combine to enable the production and perception of speaking and singing. Both forms of vocalizations rely upon the interaction of brain networks responsible for perception and action. While perceptual experience and executed actions are usually well coupled, dissociations between perception and action can be informative of their underlying neural systems. Here we report a dissociation between production and perception: tone-deaf individuals, who cannot consciously perceive pitch differences, can paradoxically reproduce pitch intervals in correct directions. Our results suggest that multiple neural pathways have evolved for sound perception and production, so that pitch information sufficient for intact speech can be obtained separately from pathways necessary for conscious perception.