DOI: 10.1101/456913Oct 30, 2018Paper

Autistic traits, resting-state connectivity and absolute pitch in professional musicians: shared and distinct neural features

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Teresa WenhartEckart Altenmueller


Background: Recent studies indicate increased autistic traits in musicians with absolute pitch and a higher incidence of absolute pitch in people with autism. Theoretical accounts connect both of these with shared neural principles of local hyper- and global hypoconnectivity, enhanced perceptual functioning and a detail-focused cognitive style. This is the first study to investigate absolute pitch proficiency, autistic traits and brain correlates in the same study. Sample and Methods: Graph theoretical analysis was conducted on resting state (eyes closed and eyes open) EEG connectivity (wPLI, weighted Phase Lag Index) matrices obtained from 31 absolute pitch (AP) and 33 relative pitch (RP) professional musicians. Small Worldness, Global Clustering Coefficient and Average Path length were related to autistic traits, passive (tone identification) and active (pitch adjustment) absolute pitch proficiency and onset of musical training using Welch-two-sample-tests, correlations and general linear models. Results: Analyses revealed increased Path length (delta 2-4 Hz), reduced Clustering (beta 13-18 Hz), reduced Small-Worldness (gamma 30-60 Hz) and increased autistic traits for AP compared to RP. Only Clustering values (beta 13-18 Hz)...Continue Reading

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