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Percept Psychophys. 1992 Sep;52(3):256-62.

Structural alterations of an ambiguous musical figure: the scale illusion revisited.

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Michigan State University, East Lansing.


The scale illusion (Deutsch, 1975) shows the importance of frequency range in the perceptual organization of a sequence of notes. This paper includes three experiments on the scale illusion. Experiments 1 and 2 demonstrated that if the structure of the pattern of notes used in the original scale illusion study is altered slightly, by adding or subtracting a pair of notes from the ends of the sequence, there is a significant decrease in the rate of frequency-based responses, suggesting a weaker illusion. Experiment 3 investigated two features of the note patterns that may have led to this change. Specifically, it asked whether the decrease in the strength of the illusion is due to (1) the nature of the notes at the extremes of the frequency range and/or (2) the nature of the notes at the crossing point of the two scales. While both sources were found to affect the strength of the scale illusion, the former had a greater influence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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