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National differences in the tritone paradox

Dear colleagues:

        In a 1991 paper in MUSIC PERCEPTION, Diana Deutsch reported a
striking difference between Californian and Southern British listeners
in the perception of the "tritone paradox", i.e., the relative pitch
height of pairs of Shepard tones 6 semitones apart. I have recently
replicated this finding, at least in part: On one of two different sets
of Shepard tones I employed, American subjects (from various regions
of the USA) gave different results than Southern British subjects.
Deutsch has hypothesized that this difference may be due to differential
language experience, implying that British and American speakers use
different pitch ranges of the speaking voice. While this possibility needs
to be explored further (and it is the only hypothesis that has been proposed
so far), I would like to ask you (1) whether you are aware of any other
observations about differences between Americans and English(wo)men,
or between any other two nationalities or regional groups, in pitch
perception or auditory processing of complex tones, and (2) whether you can
think of any explanations of such differences that do not appeal to
language experience.

        Your comments and suggestions will be greatly appreciated!


        Bruno H. Repp
        Haskins Laboratories

        e-mail: repp@yalehask.bitnet