Pitch discrimination in speech; behavioural and electrophysiological differences accross types of music training

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Ní Thuathail, Naoise
Issue Date
BA (Hons) in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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The aim of this study was to examine the effect of different types of musical training on pitch discrimination in speech. A sample of 40 participants were presented with 20 paired phrases and asked to distinguish which of these sentences contained a change of pitch. In addition to recording error rates, EEG activity of the temporal lobe was examined across non-musicians, vocalists, instrumentalists and musicians with combined training. While we expected vocal musicians to perceive more changes of pitch than non-musicians, as well as to show significantly different changes in EEG activity, this was not the case. Similarly, musicians with combined musical training did not differ in pitch discrimination ability from other training types. Given this, the positive transfer effects of musical training to pitch discrimination in speech previously seen in instrumentalists may not be generalizable to other training types.