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    Acoustic foundations of the speech-to-song illusion

    Tierney, Adam and Aniruddh, P. and Breen, M. (2018) Acoustic foundations of the speech-to-song illusion. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 147 (6), pp. 888-904. ISSN 0096-3445.

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    In the “speech-to-song illusion”, certain spoken phrases are heard as highly song-like when isolated from context and repeated. This phenomenon occurs to a greater degree for some stimuli than for others, suggesting that particular cues prompt listeners to perceive a spoken phrase as song. Here we investigated the nature of these cues across four experiments. In Experiment 1, participants were asked to rate how song-like spoken phrases were after each of eight repetitions. Initial ratings were correlated with the consistency of an underlying beat and within-syllable pitch slope, while rating change was linked to beat consistency, within-syllable pitch slope, and melodic structure. In Experiment 2, the within-syllable pitch slope of the stimuli was manipulated, and this manipulation changed the extent to which participants heard certain stimuli as more musical than others. In Experiment 3, the extent to which the pitch sequences of a phrase fit a computational model of melodic structure was altered, but this manipulation did not have a significant effect on musicality ratings. In Experiment 4, the consistency of inter-syllable timing was manipulated, but this manipulation did not have an effect on the change in perceived musicality after repetition. Our methods provide a new way of studying the causal role of specific acoustic features in the speech-to-song illusion via subtle acoustic manipulations of speech, and show that listeners can rapidly (and implicitly) assess the degree to which non-musical stimuli contain musical structure.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: ©American Psychological Association 2018. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at the DOI cited above.
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Adam Tierney
    Date Deposited: 02 May 2018 12:15
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:41


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