[Trombone-l] Psychology

Samuel Jay Keyser keyser at MIT.EDU
Mon Nov 28 10:24:48 CST 2005

I wonder if any of you heard the NPR report on a set of Stanford 
Univ. experiments which showed that musicians can recognize whether 
they are hearing a nonsense syllable "ba" as opposed to "da," for 
example, faster than non-musicians?

I haven't seen the relevant article(s) but I surmise that the set-up 
for the experiment must have been something like this:  You put a 
subject in front of a computer with earphones on. Then you feed into 
the earphones a set of contrasting syllables like "ba" versus "da" 
or "ta" versus "da," etc. The subject is asked to press a button when 
he/she recognizes the syllable.  Musicians press the button with 
accuracy faster than non-musicians.  This must mean that musicians 
are somehow trained to recognize the relevant cues in the onset of a 
sound (whether it musicial or phonological) and thus outperform 
non-musicians, even those who are music lovers.

Thought this might be of interest.


More information about the Trombone-l mailing list