Background: Congenital amusia is a rare neurogenetic and neuropsychological condition which hinders the ability to recognize variations in all aspects of a musical piece. Although previous studies have determined the prevalence of congenital amusia in the general population, few have studied its presence among university students. Findings regarding the association between this condition and academic performance are equivocal, although evidence suggests that musical training improves scholastic achievement. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study on a sample of 383 university students, all pursuing health-related degrees, comparing their class rank with their performance on the BRAMS Online Test for amusia. Results: We found a prevalence of 0.52% for pitch-based amusia. When applying the Off-Scale test failure criterion for the definition of amusia in our sample, we found a prevalence of 4.4%. Logistic models showed an increase in risk of poor academic performance (lowest quartile) in subjects who failed the off-scale test (Odds Ratio: 7.14 95% CI 2.59–19.6) and who met any of the described definitions of amusia (Odds Ratio: 4.89 95% CI 2.24–10.7). Conclusions: Both musical training and self-report of musical ability significantly affected test results. Although musical education shows some effect over academic performance, further studies are required to determine if this is due to differential effects in subjects with and without amusia.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Behavioral Neuroscience