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Experimental Comparison of Two Versions of a Technical Ear Training Program: Transfer of Training on Tone Color Identification to a Dissimilarity-Rating Task

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Two versions of a technical ear training (TET) program were developed, both of which required participants to identify the centre frequency of a parametric filter that had been applied to a pink noise signal. One group of participants made centre-frequency reports by continuously adjusting the centre frequency of a variable filter applied to the test stimulus until it matched that of a previously presented standard stimulus. In contrast to this ‘Identification by Continuous Adjustment’ (ICA) version of the tone colour identification training program, a second group of participants made centre-frequency reports by guessing the centre frequency without continuously adjusting the filter frequency as participants could in the ICA condition. This alternative training was termed the ‘Identification by Successive Approximation’ (ISA) version, and was used exclusively during a six-week technical TET course by half of the participants, with training sessions running in parallel with those of the other half of the participants engaged with the ICA version. Among a variety of post-training tasks, all of which were performed to examine the potential transfer of training to related tone colour identification tasks, was a dissimilarity-rating task in which nine synthetic conga sounds were presented for paired comparison. A clear difference in the derived two-dimensional spatial representation resulted from separate INDSCAL (INdividual Differences SCALing) analyses of the dissimilarity data obtained from the two training groups.

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