Re: AUDITORY Digest - 23 May 1999 to 27 May 1999 (#1999-74) ("Sandra E. Trehub" )

Subject: Re: AUDITORY Digest - 23 May 1999 to 27 May 1999 (#1999-74)
From:    "Sandra E. Trehub"  <sandra.trehub(at)UTORONTO.CA>
Date:    Fri, 28 May 1999 15:47:34 -0400

Robert: Shepard (JASA, 1964 36, 2346-2353) reported that, of 50 unselected (seemingly normal) colleagues and assistants at Bell Telephone Laboratories, only 62% could consistently report whether the second of two sinusoidal tones was higher or lower than the first, even when the tones differed by a little more than a semitone (1/10 of an octave). Several listeners performed at chance levels, but those who were interested in music (whether or not they played a musical instrument) were near perfect. Perhaps this is the "well established" finding in question. Another study may be relevant, this one by Zatorre (JASA 1988, 84,566-572. In that study, as you may recall, individuals heard a pair of tones (with the fundamental present or absent) and had to judge whether the pitch rose or fell. The pitch differences (200/300 Hz, 400/600 Hz, 600/900 Hz) were greater than those in Shepard's study; was that because individuals had more difficulty identifying pitch direction with smaller pitch differences? Sandra >Date: Thu, 27 May 1999 16:24:24 -0400 >From: "Robert J. Zatorre" <MD37(at)MUSICA.MCGILL.CA> >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 > >Thanks > >Robert >Robert J. Zatorre, Ph.D. ______________________________________ Sandra E. Trehub Department of Psychology University of Toronto at Mississauga Mississauga, Ontario, CANADA L5L 1C6 TEL (905)828-5415 FAX (905)569-4326 ***Note new e-mail address: sandra.trehub(at)

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