The effects of ear of stimulus presentation on pitch discrimination abilities of young adult females.
Previous research has examined various factors that influence pitch discrimination abilities in normal-hearing listeners [Deutsch (1970); (1978)], including the influence of spatial location of input stimuli. Separating the input location of interference tones from the initial (reference) and final (comparison) tones leads to better pitch discrimination accuracy (PDA) than when all tones are presented to the same ear, but the effects of the relationships between these three tone types have not been explored. This study examined the impact of ear of stimulation in 20 conditions: 5 containing no interference and 15 containing 4 interference tones. Twenty-four non-musician females (age 19-30) with normal hearing participated. Results showed that performance was significantly better when (a) no interference was present, (b) the comparison tone was presented contralaterally to reference and interference tones, (c) the comparison tone was presented to the left ear, and (d) the reference and comparison tones were the same frequency. Overall, the comparison tone seems to play a key role in PDA. These findings should be further explored, as they could be utilized in aural training and therapy programs to strengthen pitch discrimination in musicians and clinical populations, such as individuals with prosodic language or auditory processing deficits.
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