DOI: 10.1101/469429Nov 13, 2018Paper

"I hear with my little ear something...": Enhanced performance of absolute pitch musicians in an interleaved melody recognition test

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Teresa WenhartEckart Altenmueller

Abstract

Autistic people exhibit enhanced abilities to find and extract visual or auditory figures out of a meaningful whole (disembedding). Studies have shown heightened autistic traits in professional musicians with absolute pitch (AP). This study investigates whether such musicians show an advantage in an interleaved melody recognition task (IMRT). A total of N=59 professional musicians (AP=27) participated in the study. In each trial a probe melody was followed by an interleaved sequence. Subjects had to indicate as to whether the probe melody was present in the interleaved sequence. Sensitivity index d' and response bias c were calculated according to signal detection theory. Additionally, a pitch adjustment test measuring fine-graded differences in absolute pitch proficiency, the Autism-Spectrum-Quotient and a visual embedded figures test were conducted. AP performance was enhanced overall compared to RP. Absolute pitch proficiency, visual disembedding ability and musicality predicted approximately 39.2 % of variance in the interleaved melody recognition test. No correlations were found between IMRT and autistic traits. The stable pitch-label associations of AP might serve as additional sensory cues during pre-attentive processing...Continue Reading

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