THE AIM OF THIS STUDY WAS TO ASSESS the effects of left- and right-sided MTL damage on melodic memory using a newly developed arbitrary relational learning task. Participants included patients with MTL damage, patient controls,musicians, and musician controls. The learning curves of these groups showed striking differences, with right MTL patients failing to learn tonal (easy) melody pairs. Both patient groups had difficulty learning nontonal (hard) pairs. Performance was greatest for the musicians, particularly for the nontonal melody pairs. These differences were not primarily attributable to pitch discrimination or pitch working memory impairments. The findings point to differential contributions of the left and right mesial temporal lobes to melodic memory, with specificity of the right mesial temporal lobe emerging for melodic learning within a tonal musical context.
- music memory
- pitch interval learning
- mesial temporal lobe memory system
- music training
- temporal lobe epilepsy
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