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24-07-2020 | Original Article | Uitgave 6/2021

Psychological Research 6/2021

Pitch height and brightness both contribute to elicit the SMARC effect: a replication study with expert musicians

Psychological Research > Uitgave 6/2021
Marco Pitteri, Mauro Marchetti, Massimo Grassi, Konstantinos Priftis
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00426-020-01395-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The elaborated data are freely available from the Open Science Framework at the following link: https://​osf.​io/​djgkx/​?​view_​only=​ed15c5ed83924c9d​8e1472a498d050ee​.

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Pitch-height can be represented in a spatial format. Reaction times (RTs) to lower pitch-heights are faster when responses are executed in the lower side of space, whereas RTs to higher pitch-heights are faster when responses are executed in the upper side of space. This effect is called the Spatial-Music Association of Response Codes (SMARC) effect. We investigated how pitch-height and the brightness of a tone’s timbre might contribute in eliciting the SMARC effect as a function of music expertise by comparing the results of 24 musicians with the results we gathered previously (Pitteri et al., 2017) with 24 non-musicians. Three experimental conditions were used: pitch-height varied, brightness varied; pitch-height varied, brightness fixed; pitch-height fixed, brightness varied. We found that the coherent modulation of both pitch-height and brightness elicited the strongest SMARC effect, independently of music expertise. These results add evidence to the hypothesis that the strongest SMARC effect does not belong to pitch-height or brightness, but to pitch-height and brightness together.

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