Non-musicians also have a piano in the head: Evidence for spatial-musical associations from line bisection tracking

Hartmann, Matthias (2017). Non-musicians also have a piano in the head: Evidence for spatial-musical associations from line bisection tracking. Cognitive Processing, 18(1), pp. 75-80. Springer 10.1007/s10339-016-0779-0

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The spatial representation of ordinal sequences (numbers, time, tones) seems to be a fundamental cognitive property. While an automatic association between horizontal space and pitch height (left-low pitch, right-high pitch) is constantly reported in musicians, the evidence for such an association in non-musicians is mixed. In this study, 20 non-musicians performed a line bisection task while listening to irrelevant high- and low-pitched tones and white noise (control condition). While pitch height had no influence on the final bisection point, participants’ movement trajectories showed systematic biases: When approaching the line and touching the line for the first time (initial bisection point), the mouse cursor was directed more rightward for high-pitched tones compared to low-pitched tones and noise. These results show that non-musicians also have a subtle but nevertheless automatic association between pitch height and the horizontal space. This suggests that spatial–musical associations do not necessarily depend on constant sensorimotor experiences (as it is the case for musicians) but rather reflect the seemingly inescapable tendency to represent ordinal information on a horizontal line.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology, Perception and Methodology

UniBE Contributor:

Maalouli-Hartmann, Matthias

Subjects:

100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology

ISSN:

1612-4790

Publisher:

Springer

Language:

English

Submitter:

Matthias Maalouli-Hartmann

Date Deposited:

18 Aug 2017 11:03

Last Modified:

18 Aug 2017 11:03

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/s10339-016-0779-0

PubMed ID:

27696101

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.100955

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/100955

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