Got No Rhythm: 23-Year-Old Man is First Documented Case of Beat Deafness

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No, this is not just an excuse for being a bad dancer. Scientists have confirmed this is an actual condition.

A 23-year-old man named Mathieu has been identified as the first documented case of beat deafness, meaning he cannot feel or move to music’s beat. Mathieu moves to music at a pace unrelated to its actual rhythm. He also cannot recognize when someone else is or is not moving in sync with a song’s beat.

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Mathieu’s issues are not related to tone deafness, as he can sing in tune and recognize familiar songs. With further examination, beat deafness may join tone deafness as a music-specific disorder.

Because language lacks music’s periodic rhythms, it’s unlikely that Mathieu’s beat deafness has any effect on his speech perception.

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