This experiment investigated relational complexity and relational shift in judgments of auditory patterns. Pitch and duration values were used to construct two‐note perceptually similar sequences (unary relations) and four‐note relationally similar sequences (binary relations). It was hypothesized that 5‐, 8‐ and 11‐year‐old children would perform unary level pitch and duration discrimination tasks accurately. Relational shift predicted a poorer performance of the younger age groups on binary relation tasks; relational primacy predicted no effect of age. Accuracy was operationalized as a discrimination index (DI: hit rate minus false alarm rate). Results supported relational shift: DI for all age groups exceeded chance on unary and binary relation tasks, with significantly poorer performance by all age groups on binary relation tasks. The 5‐years age group showed evidence of perceptual similarity. Relational complexity of auditory dimensions and tasks, and manipulation of domain specific musical knowledge in evaluating theories of relational processing, are discussed.
British Journal of Developmental Psychology – Wiley
Published: Nov 1, 2004
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