A developmental study of latent absolute pitch memory

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  • Kelly Jakubowski, a Department of Psychology , Goldsmiths, University of London , London , UK.
  • ,
  • Daniel Müllensiefen, a Department of Psychology , Goldsmiths, University of London , London , UK.
  • ,
  • Lauren Stewart, a Department of Psychology , Goldsmiths, University of London , London , UK.

The ability to recall the absolute pitch level of familiar music (latent absolute pitch memory) is widespread in adults, in contrast to the rare ability to label single pitches without a reference tone (overt absolute pitch memory). The present research investigated the developmental profile of latent absolute pitch (AP) memory and explored individual differences related to this ability. In two experiments, 288 children from 4 to12 years of age performed significantly above chance at recognizing the absolute pitch level of familiar melodies. No age-related improvement or decline, nor effects of musical training, gender, or familiarity with the stimuli were found in regard to latent AP task performance. These findings suggest that latent AP memory is a stable ability that is developed from as early as age 4 and persists into adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Volume70
Issue3
Pages (from-to)434-443
Number of pages10
ISSN1747-0218
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017

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