Semester: Fall 2009
Course: PSY41 Perception and Cognition Lab
This research sought to test for differences in perception of tempo changes between musical novices and musical experts. It was hypothesized that this study would support previous research that experts hear music in greater detail than novices (Smith et al, 1996). 18 Tufts University students were assigned to a group based on whether they had more or less than 2 years of formal music education. Participants listened to 70 audio clips produced in logic express and judged whether they increased in tempo, decreased in tempo, or did not change. Participants judged which type of tempo change had occurred after each clip and their judgments were later scored and analyzed. Data showed better overall performance for experts, better ability to detect tempo decreases than increases, and better performance toward the end of the study than at the beginning. Participants in both groups performed better in conditions with a drum track than those without a drum track.