From New Orleans, at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience
At the other end of the musical talent scale from those with perfect pitch are people with dysmusia, a condition marked by difficulty learning to play music or recognizing melodies. It's essentially a musical version of dyslexia, the well-recognized reading disability.
On rare occasions, a person suffering a stroke or other forms of brain trauma will develop dysmusia, says Julie Ayotte of the University of Montreal. As she and her colleague Isabelle Peretz studied a few of these brain-damaged individuals, they began to wonder how frequently dysmusia occurs among healthy people. A search of scientific literature yielded just two reports of people born with dysmusia, notes Ayotte.