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Jasmin Pfeifer

Jasmin Pfeifer, MA (Ms)

Phone +49 211 81-12052
Fax +49 211 81-11325
Email pfeifer@phil.uni-duesseldorf.de


Linguistics (psycholinguistics)

SToRE Membership

SToRE member since 09 May 2014

advisor: Prof. Dr. Dr. Peter Indefrey

PhD Project

Speech Perception Impairments in Congenital Amusia

Congenital Amusia is an innate disorder affecting auditory perception. So far most research has investigated its influence on music perception. Only few studies have looked at the influence of congenital amusia on speech perception and even these have only investigated the discrimination of pitch differences. The aim of this PhD-project is a systematic investigation of the phonetic impairments in congenital amusics. For this purpose, the project employs behavioural perception experiments and EEG to detect the thresholds of amusics and non-amusics for the following parameters: pitch information (tone differences), temporal information (differences in vowel duration), spectral information (differences in vowel quality) and the combination of spectral and pitch information (differences in word stress and sentence intonation). To exclude native-language influences, the tests are performed both with Dutch and German native speakers.
The resulting thresholds will be compared to the minimal differences in the above-mentioned parameters that are employed in natural languages. This allows us to decide whether congenital amusia poses only low-level auditory impairments or also has severe repercussions on higher-level linguistic knowledge. Both possible outcomes make predictions for the acquisition of certain linguistic parameters.


Pfeifer, Jasmin & Hamann, Silke (2014). “Congenital Amusia in linguistic and non-linguistic pitch perception – What behavior and reaction times reveal” in Proceedings of Speech Prosody 7, 2014, 438-442.

Hamann, Silke, Mats Exter, Jasmin Pfeifer & Marion Krause-Burmester (2012): Perceiving Differences in Linguistic and Non Linguistic Pitch: A Pilot Study With German Congenital Amusics. Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition (ICMPC) and 8th Triennial Conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music (ESCOM), 398-405.

Pfeifer, Jasmin, Silke Hamann, Mats Exter & Marion Krause-Burmester (2012). An Experimental Study on the Influence of Congenital Amusia on Speech Perception. Stem-, Spraak- en Taalpathologie Supplement September 2012, 13th International Science of Aphasia Conference Groningen, 111-112.

Conference presentations (5 most important)

“The Diagnosis of Congenital Amusia with the Montreal Battery of Evaluation of Amusia: Current Applications and Limits”. Poster presented at the Neurosciences and Music V, May 29 – June 1 2014, Dijon, France.

“Congenital Amusia in linguistic and non-linguistic pitch perception – What behavior and reaction times reveal”. Poster presented at Speech Prosody 7 (SP7), May 20-23 2014, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.

“Pitch and Intonation Perception in Congenital Amusia: What behavior and reaction times reveal”. Talk held at the biennial meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition (SMPC), August 08-11, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada.

“Linguistic factors in the perception of intonation contours by congenital amusics”. Poster presented at the Fifth European Conference on Tone and Intonation, September 06-08, University of Oxford, UK.

“An Experimental Study on the Influence of Congenital Amusia on Speech Perception”. Talk held at Prosody in Typical and Atypical Populations, September 02-04, University of Reading, UK.

Prizes and fellowships (5 most important)

NWO Promoties in de Geesteswetenschappen project “Speech perception impairments in congenital amusia”

Project grant “E-learning in phonetics and phonology”, of the advancement of E-learning committee of the Heinrich-Heine-University (project leader)

Research grant for fieldwork in Australia, DAAD

NRW-Scholarship”Chancen nutzen”

Travel grant (for conference participation) of the advancement of women committee of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Heinrich-Heine-University

Last updated

01 Jul 2014