Browsing Department of Psychology by Author "Balkwill, Laura-Lee"
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- ItemAbsolute pitch in boreal chickadees and humans: exceptions that test a phylogenetic rule(2010) Weisman, Ronald G.; Balkwill, Laura-Lee; Hoeschele, Marisa; Moscicki, Michele; Bloomfield, Laurie L.; Sturdy, Christopher B.This research examined generality of the phylogenetic rule that birds discriminate frequency ranges more accurately than mammals. Human absolute pitch chroma possessors accurately tracked transitions between frequency ranges. Independent tests showed that they used note naming (pitch chroma) to remap the tones into ranges; neither possessors nor nonpossessors were accurate at octave (pitch height) naming. Boreal chickadees discriminated frequency ranges less accurately than other birds; they tracked reward across several lower frequency ranges but failed at frequencies over 4000 Hz. The results revealed the error of describing species differences solely in terms of their discrimination of frequency ranges. Exceptions to the rule disappear when the rule is restated in terms of underlying mechanism: birds are superior to mammals in the ability to use absolute pitch height perception to discriminate pitches and ranges of pitches.
- ItemIdentifying absolute pitch possessors without using a note-naming task(2012) Weisman, Ronald G.; Balkwill, Laura-Lee; Hoeschele, Marisa; Moscicki, Michele; Sturdy, Christopher B.English: Most researchers measure absolute pitch (AP) using note-naming tasks that presume expertise with the scales of Western music. If note naming constitutes the only measure, then by fiat, only trained musicians can possess AP. Here we report on an AP test that does not require a note-naming response. The participants were 15 AP possessors and 45 nonpossessors defined by note naming. We presented sine tones tuned to the 12-note chromatic scale in a go/no-go discrimination between the first and second 6 notes in 3 successive octaves. This half-octave discrimination test predicted AP performance in the note-naming test with high accuracy and, in particular never falsely predicted that a nonpossessor defined by note naming was an AP possessor. We found 2 heterogeneities in the AP performance of our participants. Incremental AP possessors scored above the criterion for AP in 2 note-naming tests but required 2 sessions to attain accurate half-octave discriminations. Variable AP/NAP (nonabsolute pitch) possessors scored above criterion for AP in 1 naming test and below criterion in a second naming test but below criterion on the half-octave test. Our findings suggest the use of the half-octave discrimination test in future research into heterogeneities in AP and, most important, in the search for AP possessors untutored in music.