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Volume 8 Issue 1 (January 2005), Pages iii-iii, F1-F20, 1-101

Changing the tune: the structure of the input affects infants’ use of absolute and relative pitch (pages 1-7)

Abstract

Sequences of notes contain several different types of pitch cues, including both absolute and relative pitch information. What factors determine which of these cues are used when learning about tone sequences? Previous research suggests that infants tend to preferentially process absolute pitch patterns in continuous tone sequences, while other types of input elicit relative pitch use by infants. In order to ask whether the structure of the input influences infants’ choice of pitch cues, we presented learners with continuous tone streams in which absolute pitch cues were rendered uninformative by transposing the tone sequences. Under these circumstances, both infants and adults successfully tracked relative pitches in a statistical learning task. Implications for the role played by the structure of the input in the learning process are considered.

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