Psyche Loui, assistant professor of psychology, assistant professor of neuroscience and behavior, discussed the phenomenon of tone-deafness on Radio Health Journal.
Millions people go through life thinking they’re hopelessly tone-deaf when they are not–they can distinguish between correct and incorrect notes, yet they’re just unable to sing them properly. Ironically, those who are truly tone-deaf cannot hear such distinctions, and thus may be unaware of their condition.
“You’ll see some people who don’t really know that they’re tone-deaf,” said Loui.
Identifying tone-deafness can be done by having people listen to, rather than sing, music. Many people who are tone-deaf don’t enjoy music.
“Some people think it all sounds the same, some people think it sounds like clanging, some people think it’s just really unpleasant,” said Loui.
People who are truly tone-deaf make up on about 2-1/2 to 4 percent of the population. They’re more likely have family members who are also tone-deaf, suggesting genetics play a role.
“It’s really a wiring problem, really a difference in connectivity in major pathways of the brain for regions that are important for sound processing and regions that are important for sound production,” said Loui.
Hear the full interview here.