Airball (Kevin Baker )

Subject: Airball
From:    Kevin Baker  <klb(at)DMU.AC.UK>
Date:    Tue, 8 Aug 1995 11:29:59 +0100

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 'airball' means! Kevin L. Baker ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ + Tel 0116 257 7761 Department of Human Communication + + Fax 0116 257 7708 De Montfort University, + + Scraptoft Campus, + + 24Hrs 0115 982 1493 Leicester LE7 9SU, U.K. + ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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