BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Individual differences in perception of the speech-to-song illusion are linked to musical aptitude but not musical training

    Tierney, Adam and Patel, A. and Jasmin, Kyle and Breen, M. (2021) Individual differences in perception of the speech-to-song illusion are linked to musical aptitude but not musical training. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 47 (12), pp. 1681-1697. ISSN 0096-1523.

    Tierney_HPP_2021.pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript

    Download (1MB) | Preview


    In the speech-to-song illusion, certain spoken phrases are perceived as sung after repetition. One possible explanation for this increase in musicality is that, as phrases are repeated, lexical activation dies off, enabling listeners to focus on the melodic and rhythmic characteristics of stimuli and assess them for the presence of musical structure. Here we tested the idea that perception of the illusion requires implicit assessment of melodic and rhythmic structure by presenting individuals with phrases that tend to be perceived as song when repeated, as well as phrases that tend to continue to be perceived as speech when repeated, measuring the strength of the illusion as the rating difference between these two stimulus categories after repetition. Illusion strength varied widely and stably between listeners, with large individual differences and high split-half reliability, suggesting that not all listeners are equally able to detect musical structure in speech. Although variability in illusion strength was unrelated to degree of musical training, participants who perceived the illusion more strongly were proficient in several musical skills, including beat perception, tonality perception, and selective attention to pitch. These findings support models of the speech-to-song illusion in which experience of the illusion is based on detection of musical characteristics latent in spoken phrases.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: ©American Psychological Association 2021. 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: 07 Mar 2022 06:43
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:15


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item