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Sandra E Trehub and Laurel J Trainor (1993)

Listening strategies in infancy: the roots of music and language development

In: Thinking in Sound: The Cognitive Psychology of Human Audition, ed. by Stephen McAdams & Emmanuel Bigand. Oxford University Press, London, chap. 9, pp. 278-327.

This chapter examines infants' processing of complex auditory patterns. It shows that perceptual grouping processes are operative in infancy, and that relational pitch and temporal processing are as characteristic of infants as they are of adults. In particular, relational pitch processing would seem to be a basic and uniquely human disposition, having little to do with acquired knowledge about its utility and more to do with the nature of the human brain. Pitch contours seem to dominate perception at a time when the infant's world is uncluttered with referential meaning. Thus, infants proceed globally, extracting the pitch contours of melodies and spoken utterances and ignoring many of the details within such contours.

referential meaning, infancy, auditory pattern processing, perceptual grouping processes, relational pitch processing, pitch contours

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