A influência da aprendizagem musical no desempenho na MBEA

  • Daniel Houghton (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The understanding that certain musical abilities are universal and determined by biological processes is based on the evidence concerning transcultural musical constants, evolutionary theories about their origin, genetic studies, and empirical studies showing an implicit musical tendency in all humans without developmental disorders or brain damage. Various studies have suggested the existence of modularity in musical cognition, which is independent of other functions such as language, and is supported by fixed neural correlates, in accordance with biological theories of music. The Montreal Battery of Evaluation of Amusia (MBEA) was conceived to assess universal and innate capacities of musical perception and memory, and to provide a tool for the diagnosis of amusia. Professional musicians practice their trade comprehensively, and present structural and functional brain differences in musical processing relative to nonmusicians. In our work, which is part of a larger study intended to establish norms foruse of the MBEA on the Portuguese population, we inquired whether musical learninginfluences performance on the battery. We compared scores obtained by musicians andstudents in music schools in Lisbon (n = 40; mean years of practice = 11,4) with thoseof subjects with no musical training whatsoever (n = 40), on the scale, contour, interval,rhythm, meter and memory tests, as well as the global index. Musicians achieved significantly higher scores on all tests and indices than non-musicians, although there was some overlap between groups. Furthermore, the global index scores of musicianscorrelated with years of practice (r = 0,375). These results put into question the construct validity of the MBEA, since they suggest the battery does not merely assessinnate musical abilities, but also those which can be formally learnt and practiced. Therefore, we suggest the years of musical practice be taken into account in the MBEA norms.
Date of Award24 Mar 2021
Original languagePortuguese
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorMaria Vânia Silva Nunes (Supervisor)


  • MBEA
  • Music
  • Musical perception and memory
  • Musical learning
  • Assessment of amusia


  • Mestrado em Neuropsicologia

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