Combination of absolute pitch and tone language experience enhances lexical tone perception

Akshay R. Maggu, Joseph C.Y. Lau, Mary M.Y. Waye, Patrick C.M. Wong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Absolute pitch (AP), a unique ability to name or produce pitch without any reference, is known to be influenced by genetic and cultural factors. AP and tone language experience are both known to promote lexical tone perception. However, the effects of the combination of AP and tone language experience on lexical tone perception are currently not known. In the current study, using behavioral (Categorical Perception) and electrophysiological (Frequency Following Response) measures, we investigated the effect of the combination of AP and tone language experience on lexical tone perception. We found that the Cantonese speakers with AP outperformed the Cantonese speakers without AP on Categorical Perception and Frequency Following Responses of lexical tones, suggesting an additive effect due to the combination of AP and tone language experience. These findings suggest a role of basic sensory pre-attentive auditory processes towards pitch encoding in AP. Further, these findings imply a common mechanism underlying pitch encoding in AP and tone language perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1485
JournalScientific reports
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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