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Can J Exp Psychol. 1997 Dec;51(4):292-306.

Expectancy effects in memory for melodies.

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Division of Life Sciences, University of Toronto at Scarborough, ON, Canada.


Two experiments explored the relation between melodic expectancy and melodic memory. In Experiment 1, listeners rated the degree to which different endings confirmed their expectations for a set of melodies. After providing these expectancy ratings, listeners received a recognition memory test in which they discriminated previously heard melodies from new melodies. Recognition memory in this task positively correlated with perceived expectancy, and was related to the estimated tonal coherence of these melodies. Experiment 2 extended these results, demonstrating better recognition memory for high expectancy melodies, relative to medium and low expectancy melodies. This experiment also observed asymmetrical memory confusions as a function of perceived expectancy. These findings fit with a model of musical memory in which schematically central events are better remembered than schematically peripheral events.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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