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One can't argue with statistics - but you can use them in different ways!
Doug Hintzman is right in describing the 'averaging' out of group behaviour,
which suggests that there is nothing surprising in the apparent perfect-
pitch singing behaviour of basketball 'airball' chanters.
However, Charles Watson is also correct in suggesting that different
populations may vary in certain parameters. The similarity in height
between the two samples is not surprising, in America. But comparing
the heights of adults in Scandinavia and Papua New Guinea would be more
revealing. In the same way, pitch production/perception may also be
surprising. Diana Deutsch has done some studies which suggest that West
coast Americans perceive ambiguous tone patterns differently from East
coast Americans (and UK English speakers). She proposes that pitch
intonation in speech may vary our 'anchor point' for pitch perception
(and hence, production).
Of course, one way to test this hypothesis is to compare the pitches of
crowds across the States. It would be interesting to compare with the UK
but then there is the problem of different social backgrounds, and the
that many people on this side of the atlantic haven't a clue what
Kevin L. Baker
+ Tel 0116 257 7761 Department of Human Communication +
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