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Reading music modifies spatial mapping in pianists

Stewart, L; Walsh, V; Frith, U; (2004) Reading music modifies spatial mapping in pianists. Perception and Psychophysics , 66 (2) pp.183 - 195.

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Abstract

We used a novel musical Stroop task to demonstrate that musical notation is automatically processed in trained pianists. Numbers were superimposed onto musical notes, and participants played five-note sequences by mapping from numbers to fingers instead of from notes to fingers. Pianists' reaction times were significantly affected by the congruence of the note/number pairing. Nonmusicians were unaffected. In a nonmusical analogue of the task, pianists and nonmusicians showed a qualitative difference on performance of a vertical-to-horizontal stimulus?response mapping task. Pianists were faster when stimuli specifying a leftward response were presented in vertically lower locations and stimuli specifying a rightward response were presented in vertically higher locations. Nonmusicians showed the reverse pattern. No group differences were found on a task that required horizontal-to-horizontal mappings. We suggest that, as a result of learning to read and play keyboard music, pianists acquire vertical-to-horizontal visuomotor mappings that generalize outside the musical context.

Type:Article
Title:Reading music modifies spatial mapping in pianists
Additional information:Imported via OAI, 7:29:01 20th Jun 2007
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Psychology and Language Sciences (Division of) > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences

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