Invited speaker: Peter Pfordresher (State University of New York at Buffalo)
Dr. Pfordresher is the Visiting Fulbright Canada Research Chair at the CRBLM
Title: Cognitive bases of vocal imitation
The ability to mimic auditory patterns with the voice plays a critical role in language learning and singing accuracy. I will discuss research that focuses on individual differences in the vocal imitation of pitch, a core feature for both music and language. This form of imitation relies on a complex form of implicit learning based on simulating unobservable muscle movements. As a result, when an individual faces difficulty in vocal pitch imitation (e.g., a poor-pitch singer), the proper means for remediation are elusive. My lab has used a variety of measures to better understand what factors underlie this complex skill and may account for these individual differences. Recent behavioral studies suggest that memory span (for pitch) and the vividness of auditory imagery jointly influence the accuracy of imitation. Recent studies using surface electromyography reveal subvocal laryngeal movements during auditory imagery that precedes imitation that are enhanced in less accurate imitators. Some domain-specific differences across music and language are found with respect to how well individual can imitate and form auditory images based on sung or spoken pitch. These differences may reflect the salience of pitch in different auditory patterns, as well as the function of pitch in each domain. Ultimately, vocal pitch imitation may rely on a complex network of functions, each playing a different role in the transition from perception to action planning.
For more information on the speaker, click here.
When: April 10, 2018, 10:00am
Where: Rabinovitch House, 3640 de la Montagne