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Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research 5/2021

02-06-2020 | Original Article

Generalization of novel sensorimotor associations among pianists and non-pianists: more evidence that musical training effects are constrained

Auteurs: Peter Q. Pfordresher, Chihiro Honda, Emma Greenspon, Karen Chow

Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research | Uitgave 5/2021

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Abstract

In the process of acquiring musical skills, such as playing the piano, we develop sensorimotor associations between motor movements and perception of pitch. Previous research suggests that these acquired associations are relatively inflexible and show limited generalizability to performance under novel conditions. The current study investigated whether piano training constrains the ability to generalize learning based on an unfamiliar (inverted) pitch mapping, using a transfer-of-training paradigm (Palmer and Meyer in Psychol Sci 11:63–68, 2000). Pianists and non-pianists learned a training melody by ear with normal (higher pitches to the right) or inverted (higher pitches to the left) pitch mapping. After training, participants completed a generalization test in which they listened to and then immediately reproduced four types of melodies that varied in their similarity to the melody used during training and were based on the same, a similar, an inverted, or a different pitch pattern. The feedback mapping during the generalization test matched training. Overall, pianists produced fewer errors and required fewer training trials than non-pianists. However, benefits of training were absent for pianists who trained with inverted feedback when they attempted to reproduce a melody with a different structure than the melody used for training. This suggests that piano experience may constrain one’s ability to generalize learning that is based on novel sensorimotor associations.

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Voetnoten
1
It is worth noting that non-musicians in Western cultures typically report explicit knowledge about the mapping of pitch to piano keys. Our focus is not on this kind of explicit awareness, but instead on more implicit features of sensorimotor associations.
 
2
In Pfordresher & Chow (2019) only one successful trial was needed to progress. However, that study was limited by a high attrition rate (only 45% of recruited participants could complete the procedure). We reasoned that more repetitions of each progressive melody would facilitate memory consolidation. In support of this prediction, participant retention was much higher in this study (77%).
 
3
The pattern of results reported here remained the same when Log-transforming these data to better approximate a normal distribution.
 
4
The pattern of results reported here remained the same when analyzing the arc-sine square root transform of the data, yielding a closer approximation to the normal distribution.
 
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Metagegevens
Titel
Generalization of novel sensorimotor associations among pianists and non-pianists: more evidence that musical training effects are constrained
Auteurs
Peter Q. Pfordresher
Chihiro Honda
Emma Greenspon
Karen Chow
Publicatiedatum
02-06-2020
Uitgeverij
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Gepubliceerd in
Psychological Research / Uitgave 5/2021
Print ISSN: 0340-0727
Elektronisch ISSN: 1430-2772
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-020-01362-9