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Suppression of Pitch Labeling: No Evidence for an Impact of Absolute Pitch on Behavioral and Neurophysiological Measures of Cognitive Inhibition in an Auditory Go/Nogo Task


Greber, Marielle; Jäncke, Lutz (2020). Suppression of Pitch Labeling: No Evidence for an Impact of Absolute Pitch on Behavioral and Neurophysiological Measures of Cognitive Inhibition in an Auditory Go/Nogo Task. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 14:585505.

Abstract

Pitch labeling in absolute pitch (AP), the ability to recognize the pitch class of a sound without an external reference, is effortless, fast, and presumably automatic. Previous studies have shown that pitch labeling in AP can interfere with task demands. In the current study, we used a cued auditory Go/Nogo task requiring same/different decisions to investigate both behavioral and electrophysiological correlates of increased inhibitory demands related to automatic pitch labeling. The task comprised two Nogo conditions: a Nogo condition with pitch differences larger than one semitone, and a second Nogo condition with pitch differences of only a quarter semitone. The first Nogo condition tested if auditory-related inhibition processes are generally altered in AP musicians. The second Nogo condition tested the suppressibility of the pitch labeling using a Stroop-like effect: the two tones belonged to the same pitch class but were not identical in terms of tone frequency. If pitch labeling cannot be suppressed, the conflicting information would be expected to increase the inhibitory load in AP musicians. Our data provided no evidence for an increased difficulty to inhibit a prepotent response or to suppress conflicting pitch-labeling information in AP: AP musicians showed similar commission error rates as non-AP musicians in both Nogo conditions. N2d and P3d amplitudes of AP musicians were also comparable to those of non-AP musicians. The event-related potentials (ERPs) were, however, modulated by the Nogo condition, probably indicating an effect of stimulus similarity. It is possible that, depending on the context, pitch labeling in AP musicians is not entirely automatic and can be suppressed.

Abstract

Pitch labeling in absolute pitch (AP), the ability to recognize the pitch class of a sound without an external reference, is effortless, fast, and presumably automatic. Previous studies have shown that pitch labeling in AP can interfere with task demands. In the current study, we used a cued auditory Go/Nogo task requiring same/different decisions to investigate both behavioral and electrophysiological correlates of increased inhibitory demands related to automatic pitch labeling. The task comprised two Nogo conditions: a Nogo condition with pitch differences larger than one semitone, and a second Nogo condition with pitch differences of only a quarter semitone. The first Nogo condition tested if auditory-related inhibition processes are generally altered in AP musicians. The second Nogo condition tested the suppressibility of the pitch labeling using a Stroop-like effect: the two tones belonged to the same pitch class but were not identical in terms of tone frequency. If pitch labeling cannot be suppressed, the conflicting information would be expected to increase the inhibitory load in AP musicians. Our data provided no evidence for an increased difficulty to inhibit a prepotent response or to suppress conflicting pitch-labeling information in AP: AP musicians showed similar commission error rates as non-AP musicians in both Nogo conditions. N2d and P3d amplitudes of AP musicians were also comparable to those of non-AP musicians. The event-related potentials (ERPs) were, however, modulated by the Nogo condition, probably indicating an effect of stimulus similarity. It is possible that, depending on the context, pitch labeling in AP musicians is not entirely automatic and can be suppressed.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
08 Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Biological Psychiatry, Behavioral Neuroscience, Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology, Neurology, Psychiatry and Mental health
Language:English
Date:12 November 2020
Deposited On:12 Nov 2020 09:59
Last Modified:12 Nov 2020 10:00
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:1662-5161
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2020.585505
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID320030_163149
  • : Project TitleDie neuronalen Grundlagen des absoluten Gehörs und der Ton-Farbsynästhesie: Zwei Seiten einer Medaille?

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