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Publication Detail
Reading music modifies spatial mapping in pianists
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Stewart L, Walsh V, Frith U
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    pp.183, 195
  • Journal:
    Perception and Psychophysics
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Print ISSN:
  • Notes:
    Imported via OAI, 7:29:01 20th Jun 2007
We used a novel musical Stroop task to demonstrate that musical notation is automatically processed in trained pianists. Numbers were superimposed onto musical notes, and participants played five-note sequences by mapping from numbers to fingers instead of from notes to fingers. Pianists' reaction times were significantly affected by the congruence of the note/number pairing. Nonmusicians were unaffected. In a nonmusical analogue of the task, pianists and nonmusicians showed a qualitative difference on performance of a vertical-to-horizontal stimulus?response mapping task. Pianists were faster when stimuli specifying a leftward response were presented in vertically lower locations and stimuli specifying a rightward response were presented in vertically higher locations. Nonmusicians showed the reverse pattern. No group differences were found on a task that required horizontal-to-horizontal mappings. We suggest that, as a result of learning to read and play keyboard music, pianists acquire vertical-to-horizontal visuomotor mappings that generalize outside the musical context.
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