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Re: Height and pitch


This is a good question. The origin of the so-called "spatial stereotypes" (Mudd, 1963) for stimulus dimension is not clear. Pitch is associated with the vertical plane but also with the horizontal plane - High pitch is usually placed to the left of low pitch. Notice that this arrangement is consistent with the layout of a keyboard. However, other factors might play a role. Factors like semantic congruence between the word "HIGH" and the description - high pitch. But again, some of these spatial stereotypes have been found among young children without musical training and in some cases without well-developed semantic system. And, of course, there are these cases, admittedly few, of people showing the opposite preferences - associating high pith with low spatial position.


Yoav Arieh PhD
J. B. Pierce Laboratory and Yale University