Inattentional deafness under dynamic musical conditions
While inattentional blindness is a modern classic in attention and perception research, analogous phenomena of inattentional deafness are less well-known. In music, inattentional deafness has never been demonstrated under controlled experimental conditions, despite of indirect evidence for related effects. We tested inattentional deafness with real music in both musicians and non-musicians. Participants listened to the first 1’50” of Richard Strauss’ Thus Spake Zarathustra, with the experimental group having the task of counting the number of tympani beats and the control group just listening. The unexpected event was an e-guitar solo during the last 20s of this sequence. In Study 1, among non-musicians, only a single person in the experimental group noticed the e-guitar, while 52% of the control group did. In amateur musicians, results were less extreme, but structurally equivalent: When engaged in a simple parallel task, only 38% explicitly noticed the strange guitar, with 68% doing so in the control group. In Study 2, findings were extended to an easier stimulus setting. Results demonstrate that inattentional deafness exists in the musical realm, in close correspondence to known blindness effects with dynamic visual stimuli. The striking effects in the musicians’ group shed a new light on the role of attentional processes in music perception and performance. ...
ConferenceESCOM 2009 : 7th Triennial Conference of European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music
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- ESCOM 2009