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Re: pitch discrimination

Dear Robert,

        There were some models and very limited data in the late 60's
suggesting that listeners could make Same-Different judgments about pitch of
pure tones, but not high-low judgments.  For intensity discimination,
high-low judgments were known to be more accurate than same-different
judgments, for a given difference between the two stimuli to be compared,
and there was a signal detection theory explanation as to why that was the
case.  Bob Bilger and I made those paradigm comparisons for both intensity
and frequency discrimination in the same subjects and found they worked the
same way.  High-low judgments in a 2IFC task were better than Same-Different
for both intensity and frequency discrimination.  The reference is W.
Jesteadt and R. C. Bilger, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 55, 1266-1276, (1974).

        Since I tested only four subjects, there may be a some subjects who
do have that problem.  I do not know of such a reference.  If anyone does, I
would be interested in it.


Walt Jesteadt            Jesteadt@Boystown.Org
Director of Research
Boystown National Research Hospital
555 N. 30th Street       Phn: (402) 498-6704
Omaha, NE  68131         FAX: (402) 498-6351

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert J. Zatorre [mailto:MD37@MUSICA.MCGILL.CA]
Sent: Thursday, May 27, 1999 3:24 PM
Subject: pitch discrimination

Dear List

A reviewer of a recent paper of ours has written the following:

"...I thought it was well established that 10 to 30% of normal subjects
cannot judge which frequency [in a pair of pure tones] is higher or lower
(above chance), while all subjects are generally able to judge if two
frequencies are identical or not."

My question: is this, in fact, well established, as the reviewer claims,
and if so, what might be the reference for this?

Any leads you all can give us would be appreciated


Robert J. Zatorre, Ph.D.
Montreal Neurological Institute
3801 University St.
Montreal, QC

phone: 514-398-8903
fax 514-398-1338