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August 2021

Music perception and octave generalization in rhesus monkeys

Author(s): Rivera, J. J., Hulse, S. H., Shyan, M., Neiworth, J. J.

Journal/Book: J Exp Psychol Gen. 2000; 129: 750 First St NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242, USA. Amer Psychological Assoc. 291-307.

Abstract: Two rhesus monkeys were tested for octave generalization in 8 experiments by transposing 6- and ZI-note musical passages by an octave and requiring same or different judgments. The monkeys showed no octave generalization to random-synthetic melodies, atonal melodies, or individual notes. They did show complete octave generalization to childhood songs (e.g., ''Happy Birthday'') and tonal melodies (from a tonality algorithm). Octave generalization was equally strong for 2-octave transpositions but not for 0.5- or 1.5-octave transpositions of childhood songs. These results combine to show that tonal melodies form musical gestalts for monkeys, as they do for humans, and retain their identity when transposed with whole octaves so that chroma (key) is preserved. This conclusion implicates similar transduction, storage, processing, and relational memory of musical passages in monkeys and humans and has implications for nature-nurture origins of music perception.

Note: Article Wright AA, Univ Texas, Sch Med, Dept Neurobiol & Anat, POB 20708, Houston,TX 77225 USA

Keyword(s): STARLING STURNUS-VULGARIS; MELODY RECOGNITION; PITCH PERCEPTION; CEBUS-APELLA; TONE CHROMA; STIMULI; REPRESENTATION; ORGANIZATION; ABSTRACTION; CONTOUR


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