Effects of Psychoacoustic Training on the Pre-Attentive Processing of Harmonic Sounds and Syllables


  • Frey Aline
  • Barbaroux Mylène
  • Dittinger Eva
  • Besson Mireille

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Purpose: This article aimed at investigating the neural underpinnings of music-to-language transfer effects at the pre-attentive level of processing. Method: We conducted a longitudinal experiment with a test–training–retest procedure. Nonmusician adults were trained either on frequency (experimental group) or on intensity (control group) of harmonic tones using methods from psychophysics. Pre- and posttraining, we recorded brain electrical activity and we analyzed the mismatch negativity (MMN) and the P3a component both to harmonic complex sounds and to syllables varying in frequency. Results: Frequency training influenced the pre-attentive perception of pitch for large harmonic deviant sounds but not for syllables. Conclusion: Results are discussed in terms of near and far transfer effects from psychoacoustic training to pre-attentive pitch processing and as possibly showing some limits to transfer effects.

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