Melody and pitch processing in five musical savants with congenital blindness

Pring, Linda; Woolf, Katherine and Tadić, Valerie. 2008. Melody and pitch processing in five musical savants with congenital blindness. Perception, 37(2), pp. 290-307. ISSN 0301-0066 [Article]


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Abstract or Description

Abstract. We examined absolute-pitch (AP) and short-term musical memory abilities of five musical savants with congenital blindness, seven musicians, and seven non-musicians with good vision and normal intelligence in two experiments. In the first, short-term memory for musical phrases was tested and the savants and musicians performed statistically indistinguishably, both signifi- cantly outperforming the non-musicians and remembering more material from the C major scale sequences than random trials. In the second experiment, participants learnt associations between four pitches and four objects using a non-verbal paradigm. This experiment approximates to testing AP ability. Low statistical power meant the savants were not statistically better than the musicians, although only the savants scored statistically higher than the non-musicians. The results are evidence for a musical module, separate from general intelligence; they also support the anecdotal reporting of AP in musical savants, which is thought to be necessary for the development of musical-savant skill.

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Date Deposited:

28 Mar 2011 14:23

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:31

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