Evaluating Domain Specificity in Vocal Reproduction: A comparison of Speech and Melodies
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Previous research investigating the degree to which music and language rely on shared or separate resources has been mixed. The current research addressed the question of domain specificity with respect to auditory imagery, auditory memory, and vocal reproduction using both a correlational and experimental design. In Study 1, participants completed a battery of pitch and verbal tasks to measure pitch perception, pitch and verbal auditory imagery, pitch and verbal auditory short-term memory, and pitch reproduction ability. Auditory imagery and auditory memory exhibited pitch-specific relationships with pitch reproduction, suggesting that these processes rely on domain-specific resources. Study 2 utilized an interference paradigm in which participants imagined and then reproduced novel melodies in three interference conditions: no-interference, pitch-interference, and digit-interference. Performance was disrupted most in the pitch-interference condition, providing further evidence that auditory imagery relies on pitch-specific resources.