Dissociation of musical tonality and pitch memory from nonmusical cognitive abilities

W. R. Steinke, L. L. Cuddy, R. R. Holden
1997 Canadian journal of experimental psychology  
The main purposes of this study were to replicate, validate, and extend measures of sensitivity to musical pitch and to determine whether performance on tests of tonal structure and pitch memory was related to, or dissociated from, performance on tests of nonmusical cognitive skills -standardized tests of cognitive abstraction, vocabulary, and memory for digits and nonrepresentational figures. Factor analyses of data from 100 neurologically intact participants revealed a dissociation between
more » ... ic and nonmusic variables, both for the full data set and a set for which the possible contribution of levels of music training was statistically removed. A neurologically impaired participant, C.N., scored within the range of matched controls on nonmusic tests but much lower than controls on music tests. The study provides further evidence of a functional specificity for musical pitch abilities.
doi:10.1037/1196-1961.51.4.316 fatcat:mwsdw4wonrdblff2wqyb547d7y