NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ932017
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Nov
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 33
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Shifting Perceptions: Developmental Changes in Judgments of Melodic Similarity
Stalinski, Stephanie M.; Schellenberg, E. Glenn
Developmental Psychology, v46 n6 p1799-1803 Nov 2010
Musical melodies are recognized on the basis of pitch and temporal relations between consecutive tones. Although some previous evidence (e.g., Saffran & Griepentrog, 2001) points to an absolute-to-relative developmental shift in listeners' perception of pitch, other evidence (e.g., Plantinga & Trainor, 2005; Schellenberg & Trehub, 2003) suggests that both absolute- and relative-pitch processing are evident among listeners of all ages (infants, children, and adults). We attempted to resolve this apparent discrepancy by testing adults as well as children 5-12 years of age. On each trial, listeners rated how similar or how different 2 melodies sounded. The melodies were identical, transposed (all tones shifted in pitch by the same amount), different (same tones reordered, changing pitch relations between successive tones), or transposed and different. Listeners of all ages were sensitive to both changes, but younger listeners attended selectively to transpositions as a source of perceived differences. With increasing age, melodic differences played an increasingly important role, whereas transpositions became less relevant. (Contains 2 figures.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A