Do absolute pitch possessors have a field independent cognitive style?
The factors contributing to the development of absolute pitch (AP) are still not fully understood. It seems to be neither completely inherited nor completely teachable. This study tested the hypothesis, that individual differences in cognitive style influence AP development. Specifically, it investigated whether adult AP possessors can be characterized by a field independent cognitive style while handling visual and musical tasks. Thirty professional musicians performed tests of absolute and relative pitch abilities, a visual and a musical task measuring field independence, and visual tasks measuring intellectual functioning. The absolute pitch test resulted in a continuous distribution of pitch labeling abilities. When the 10 participants with more than 80 % correctly labeled pitches (AP possessors) were compared with the 10 participants with up to 20 % correctly labeled pitches (AP non-possessors), there were no significant group differences in any of the visual tasks. Instead, all participants had above-average scores, compared with the test norm. The motif identification task resulted in small but insignificant group differences in the proposed direction. In the relative pitch test, AP possessors’ performance declined when transposed melodies had to be judged. Neither the visual nor the musical task revealed evidence for a higher field independence among AP possessors compared with non-possessors, when both groups consist of adult professional musicians. ...
ConferenceESCOM 2009 : 7th Triennial Conference of European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music
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- ESCOM 2009 
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