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Article: Absolute pitch memory: Its prevalence among musicians and dependence on the testing context

TitleAbsolute pitch memory: Its prevalence among musicians and dependence on the testing context
Authors
KeywordsAuditory
Issue Date2014
Citation
Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 2014, v. 21, n. 2, p. 534-542 How to Cite?
AbstractAbsolute pitch (AP) is widely believed to be a rare ability possessed by only a small group of gifted and special individuals (AP possessors). While AP has fascinated psychologists, neuroscientists, and musicians for more than a century, no theory can satisfactorily explain why this ability is so rare and difficult to learn. Here, we show that AP ability appears rare because of the methodological issues of the standard pitch-naming test. Specifically, the standard test unnecessarily poses a high decisional demand on AP judgments and uses a testing context that is highly inconsistent with one's musical training. These extra cognitive challenges are not central to AP memory per se and have thus led to consistent underestimation of AP ability in the population. Using the standard test, we replicated the typical findings that the accuracy for general violinists was low (12.38 %; chance level = 0 %). With identical stimuli, scoring criteria, and participants, violinists attained 25 % accuracy in a pitch verification test in which the decisional demand of AP judgment was reduced. When the testing context was increasingly similar to their musical experience, verification accuracy improved further and reached 39 %, three times higher than that for the standard test. Results were replicated with a separate group of pianists. Our findings challenge current theories about AP and suggest that the prevalence of AP among musicians has been highly underestimated in prior work. A multimodal framework is proposed to better explain AP memory. © 2013 Psychonomic Society, Inc.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/226710
ISSN
2015 Impact Factor: 3.08
2015 SCImago Journal Rankings: 1.716

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorWong, Yetta Kwailing-
dc.contributor.authorWong, Alan C N-
dc.date.accessioned2016-06-29T01:58:22Z-
dc.date.available2016-06-29T01:58:22Z-
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.identifier.citationPsychonomic Bulletin and Review, 2014, v. 21, n. 2, p. 534-542-
dc.identifier.issn1069-9384-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/226710-
dc.description.abstractAbsolute pitch (AP) is widely believed to be a rare ability possessed by only a small group of gifted and special individuals (AP possessors). While AP has fascinated psychologists, neuroscientists, and musicians for more than a century, no theory can satisfactorily explain why this ability is so rare and difficult to learn. Here, we show that AP ability appears rare because of the methodological issues of the standard pitch-naming test. Specifically, the standard test unnecessarily poses a high decisional demand on AP judgments and uses a testing context that is highly inconsistent with one's musical training. These extra cognitive challenges are not central to AP memory per se and have thus led to consistent underestimation of AP ability in the population. Using the standard test, we replicated the typical findings that the accuracy for general violinists was low (12.38 %; chance level = 0 %). With identical stimuli, scoring criteria, and participants, violinists attained 25 % accuracy in a pitch verification test in which the decisional demand of AP judgment was reduced. When the testing context was increasingly similar to their musical experience, verification accuracy improved further and reached 39 %, three times higher than that for the standard test. Results were replicated with a separate group of pianists. Our findings challenge current theories about AP and suggest that the prevalence of AP among musicians has been highly underestimated in prior work. A multimodal framework is proposed to better explain AP memory. © 2013 Psychonomic Society, Inc.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.relation.ispartofPsychonomic Bulletin and Review-
dc.subjectAuditory-
dc.titleAbsolute pitch memory: Its prevalence among musicians and dependence on the testing context-
dc.typeArticle-
dc.description.natureLink_to_subscribed_fulltext-
dc.identifier.doi10.3758/s13423-013-0487-z-
dc.identifier.pmid23943554-
dc.identifier.scopuseid_2-s2.0-84897419544-
dc.identifier.volume21-
dc.identifier.issue2-
dc.identifier.spage534-
dc.identifier.epage542-
dc.identifier.eissn1531-5320-

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