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Title: Prosody beyond pitch and emotion in speech and music : evidence from right hemisphere brain damage and congenital amusia
Author: Loutrari, Ariadni Despoina
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 9734
Awarding Body: Birkbeck, University of London
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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This dissertation examines the relationship of prosodic processing in language and music from a new perspective, considering acoustic features that have not been studied before in the framework of the parallel study of language and music. These features are argued to contribute to the effect of ‘expressiveness’ which is here defined as the combination of the acoustic features (variation in duration, pitch, loudness, and articulation) that results in aesthetic appreciation of the linguistic and the musical acoustic stream and which is distinct from pitch, emotional and pragmatic prosody as well as syntactic structure. The present investigation took a neuropsychological approach, comparing the performance of a right temporo-parietal stroke patient IB; a congenitally amusic individual, BZ; and 24 control participants with and without musical training. Apart from the main focus on the perception of ‘expressiveness’, additional aspects of language and music perception were studied. A new battery was designed that consisted of 8 tasks; ‘speech prosody detection’, ‘expressive speech prosody’, ‘expressive music prosody’, ‘emotional speech prosody’, ‘emotional music prosody, ‘speech pitch’, ‘speech rate’, and ‘music tempo’. These tasks addressed both theoretical and methodological issues in this comparative cognitive framework. IB’s performance on the expressive speech prosody task revealed a severe perceptual impairment, whereas his performance on the analogous music task examining ‘expressiveness’ was unimpaired. BZ also performed successfully on the same music task despite being characterised as congenital amusic by an earlier study. Musically untrained controls also had a successful performance. The data from IB suggest that speech and music stimuli encompassing similar features are not necessarily processed by the same mechanisms. These results can have further implications for the approach to the relationship of language and music within the study of cognitive deficits.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available