The tritone paradox and the Simon effect : a study of pitch perception
Coackley, Olivia Anne
Fata, Samantha Anne
Furbershaw, Josie Nikita
May 10, 2017
The tritone paradox is a phenomenon of auditory perception in which individuals perceive octave-ambiguous tritone intervals differently from other individuals. Although they are by definition ambiguous, it is unclear whether perception of these tritones can be manipulated. The purpose of this study was to determine if the perception of ambiguous tone pairs (tritones) is susceptible to priming, similar to ambiguous images. Participants listened to a series of tritone pairs and non-tritone pairs in the context of a Simon task and judged if the tones were ascending or descending. The results demonstrated that under some circumstances, perception of tritones can be primed. This supports a model of pitch perception that includes influence of external cues. Future research should focus on the difference between perceived and actual direction of primes, the possibility that some non-tritone intervals may also be ambiguous, and the importance of including participants from a wide range of linguistic and geographical backgrounds.
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