Modularity in Musical Processing: The Automaticity of Harmonic Priming
Three experiments investigated the modularity of harmonic expectations that are based on cultural schemata despite the availability of more predictive veridical information. Participants were presented with prime-target chord pairs and made an intonation judgment about each target. Schematic expectation was manipulated by the combination of prime and target, with some transitions being schematically more probable than others. Veridical information in the form of prime-target previews, local transition probabilities, or valid versus invalid previews was also provided. Processing was facilitated when a schematically probable target chord followed the prime. Furthermore, this effect was independent of all manipulations of veridical expectation. A solution to L. B. Meyer's (1967b) query "On Rehearing Music" is suggested, in which schematic knowledge contributes to harmonic expectation in a modular manner regardless of whether any veridical knowledge exists.