Undergraduate Psychology Research Methods Journal


This experiment was conducted to analyze pitch perception in musicians and non-musicians. Previous researchers found that musicians had better pitch perception than non-musicians. Furthermore, violinists were found to perform best on pitch perception tests, whereas pianists and percussionists did not perform as well. Among non-musicians, music listening has been reported to affect the frequencies people are able to hear. Based on these findings, I tested three hypotheses: (1) Musicians will be able to detect small changes in frequency more accurately than non-musicians, (2) Classical musicians who play self-tunable instruments will outperform other musicians and singers, and (3) In non-musicians, the more often they listen to music, the better they will perform on this test. I conducted an in-person study with a between-subjects design to test these hypotheses. The data showed support for the first hypothesis, but not the latter two. Limitations were discovered in sample size, specificity of instructions, reported hearing ability, and design of the experiment. Still, this study was a good indicator of pitch perception, especially for musicians who were able to evaluate their personal skill levels.

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