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Training improves acoustic pattern perception

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jessica Foxton, Professor Tim GriffithsORCiD


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Pitch changes that occur in speech and melodies can be described in terms of contour patterns of rises and falls in pitch and the actual pitches at each point in time. This study investigates whether training can improve the perception of these different features. One group of ten adults trained on a pitch-contour discrimination task, a second group trained on an actual-pitch discrimination task, and a third group trained on a contour comparison task between pitch sequences and their visual analogs. A fourth group did not undergo training. It was found that training on pitch sequence comparison tasks gave rise to improvements in pitch-contour perception. This occurred irrespective of whether the training task required the discrimination of contour patterns or the actual pitch details. In contrast, none of the training tasks were found to improve the perception of the actual pitches in a sequence. The results support psychological models of pitch processing where contour processing is an initial step before actual pitch details are analyzed [1, 2]. Further studies are required to determine whether pitch-contour training is effective in improving speech and melody perception.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Foxton JM, Brown ACB, Chambers S, Griffiths TD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Current Biology

Year: 2004

Volume: 14

Issue: 4

Pages: 322-325

ISSN (print): 0960-9822

ISSN (electronic): 1879-0445

Publisher: Cell Press


DOI: 10.1016/S0960-9822(04)00082-X

PubMed id: 14972683


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