Send to

Choose Destination
Neurosci Lett. 2013 Aug 26;548:155-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2013.05.049. Epub 2013 Jun 4.

Pre-attentive auditory processing of non-scale pitch in absolute pitch possessors.

Author information

Section of Liaison Psychiatry and Palliative Medicine, Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo 113-8510, Japan.


Absolute pitch (AP) refers to the ability to identify the pitch of sound without reference. To clarify the neurophysiological characteristics of AP, we compared mismatch negativity (MMN) elicited by scale and non-scale notes between AP possessors and non-AP individuals. Eight individuals who were able to identify pitch with perfect accuracy were defined as AP possessors. Eighteen participants who failed to achieve perfect accuracy were included in the non-AP group. We presented participants with two tone pairs, in a scale condition and a non-scale condition. The frequency ratios of the two pairs were the same. MMN over the frontal region in the non-scale condition was larger in the AP group than the non-AP group. In contrast, no such difference was observed between the two groups in the scale condition. The results suggest that pre-attentive processing of non-scale note sounds in the auditory cortex is a salient neurophysiological characteristic of AP.


AP; Auditory; ERP; Event-related potentials; MMN; Music; Relative pitch; SOA; absolute pitch; event-related potential; mismatch negativity; stimulus onset asynchrony

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center