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Abstract

Dawn Senathi-Raja

Based on cases of auditory agnosia, Isabelle Peretz has proposed a taxonomy which fractionates sound recognition into various auditory cognitive domains (Peretz et al., 1994). This study examined the case of MR, a 62 year-old, right handed man who exhibited music agnosia following a right temporal lobe stroke (Beckwith, 2003). Using a comparison of five matched controls, a thorough investigation of his auditory agnosia was conducted by assessing the domains of music, speech prosody, and environmental sounds. In accounting for MR's pattern of agnosias using a low-level approach, his perceptual auditory abilities were assessed using tailored tasks in comparison to the five controls. MR was found to exhibit impairments at the levels of pitch perception and auditory scene analysis. These perceptual deficits were sufficient to explain his music and environmental agnosias in the absence of verbal or prosodic agnosia. The explanatory power of Peretz's higher-level cognitive approach is compared to a low-level perceptual approach according to the degree to which these accounts explain MR's pattern of agnosias. The limitations of this study are discussed and possible directions for future research proposed.

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