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Melody and pitch processing in five musical savants with congenital blindness

Pring, L; Woolf, K; Tadic, V; (2008) Melody and pitch processing in five musical savants with congenital blindness. PERCEPTION , 37 (2) 290 - 307. 10.1068/p5718. Green open access

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Abstract

We examined absolute-pitch (AP) and short-term musical memory abilities of five musical savants with congenital blindness, seven musicians, and seven non-musicians with good vision and normal intelligence in two experiments. In the first, short-term memory for musical phrases was tested and the savants and musicians performed statistically indistinguishably, both significantly outperforming the non-musicians and remembering more material from the C major scale sequences than random trials. In the second experiment, participants learnt associations between four pitches and four objects using a non-verbal paradigm. This experiment approximates to testing AP ability. Low statistical power meant the savants were not statistically better than the musicians, although only the savants scored statistically higher than the non-musicians. The results are evidence for a musical module, separate from general intelligence; they also support the anecdotal reporting of AP in musical savants, which is thought to be necessary for the development of musical-savant skill.

Type: Article
Title: Melody and pitch processing in five musical savants with congenital blindness
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1068/p5718
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1068/p5718
Language: English
Additional information: Pring, L and Woolf, K and Tadic, V (2008). The definitive, peer-reviewed and edited version of this article is published in Perception, 37, 2, 290-307, 2008, http://dx.doi.org/10.1068/p5718
Keywords: ABSOLUTE PITCH, CALENDRICAL CALCULATORS, AUTISM, MEMORY, MODULARITY, INTELLIGENCE, INDIVIDUALS, SENSITIVITY, PERFORMANCE, PERCEPTION
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > UCL Medical School
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > ICH Pop, Policy and Practice Prog
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/118264
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