Send to

Choose Destination
Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2010 Dec;10(4):541-51. doi: 10.3758/CABN.10.4.541.

Holistic processing of musical notation: Dissociating failures of selective attention in experts and novices.

Author information

Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.


Holistic processing (i.e., the tendency to process objects as wholes) is associated with face perception and also with expertise individuating novel objects. Surprisingly, recent work also reveals holistic effects in novice observers. It is unclear whether the same mechanisms support holistic effects in experts and in novices. In the present study, we measured holistic processing of music sequences using a selective attention task in participants who vary in music-reading expertise. We found that holistic effects were strategic in novices but were relatively automatic in experts. Correlational analyses revealed that individual holistic effects were predicted by both individual music-reading ability and neural responses for musical notation in the right fusiform face area (rFFA), but in opposite directions for experts and novices, suggesting that holistic effects in the two groups may be of different natures. To characterize expert perception, it is important not only to measure the tendency to process objects as wholes, but also to test whether this effect is dependent on task constraints.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center