DOI: 10.1101/489302Dec 7, 2018Paper

A reevaluation of the electrophysiological correlates of absolute pitch and relative pitch: No evidence for an absolute pitch-specific negativity.

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Simon LeipoldLutz Jaencke


Musicians with absolute pitch effortlessly identify the pitch of a sound without an external reference. Previous neuroscientific studies on absolute pitch have typically had small samples sizes and low statistical power, making them susceptible for false positive findings. In a seminal study, Itoh et al. (2005) reported the elicitation of an absolute pitch-specific event-related potential component during tone listening - the AP negativity. Additionally, they identified several components as correlates of relative pitch, the ability to identify relations between pitches. Here, we attempted to replicate the main findings of Itoh et al.'s study in a large sample of musicians (n = 104) using both frequentist and Bayesian inference. We were not able to replicate the presence of an AP negativity during tone listening in individuals with high levels of absolute pitch, but we partially replicated the findings concerning the correlates of relative pitch. Our results are consistent with several previous studies reporting an absence of differences between musicians with and without absolute pitch in early auditory evoked potential components. We conclude that replication studies form a crucial part in assessing extraordinary findings, ev...Continue Reading

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