Absolute Pitch as a Learned Phenomenon:

Evidence Consistent with the Hick-Hyman Law

Jasba Simpson and David Huron
Music Perception, Vol. 12, No. 2 (1994) pp. 267-270.

Abstract

An analysis of reaction time data collected by Miyazaki (1989) provides additional support for absolute pitch as a learned phenomenon. Specifically, the data are shown to be consistent with the Hick-Hyman law, which relates the reaction time for a given stimulus to its expected frequency of occurrence. The frequencies of occurrence are estimated by analyzing a computer-based sample of Western music. The results are consistent with the view that absolute pitch is acquired through ordinary exposure to the pitches of Western music.


Return to David Huron's Home Page
Return to Publication List