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Familiarity, articulatory supression and stimulus length effect: influences in working memory for tones and melodies.

Grant number: 08/04962-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2009
Effective date (End): May 31, 2012
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Cognitive Psychology
Principal Investigator:Maria Gabriela Menezes de Oliveira
Grantee:Mariana Elisa Benassi Werke
Host Institution: Escola Paulista de Medicina (EPM). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus São Paulo. São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Acording to Baddeley and Hitch's working memory model (1974) the phonological loop is a temporary storage subsystem necessary for short-term verba recall, while the central executive is a system responsible for manipulation of this information. The storage of verbal sequences may depend on the length and phonological similarity of the words, semantic context in witch the words are inserted to and unattended material, such as the sub vocal repetition of an irrelevant word during a memory task, witch is called articulatory suppression. There are controversies about how is the storage a manipulation of melodic material in working memory. Studies report that the tones and melodies processing is different from verbal processing. However, there is not a specific subsystem or mechanism in the working memory model devoted to pitch processing of verbal and nonverbal sounds.This work intends to investigate whether the effects that cause influence in verbal storage by the phonological loop also cause influence in melodic storage, because if the melodic store is not influenced by those effects, than we can suggest that melodic storage does not depend on the phonological loop. Besides, we intend to investigate the familiarity effect in storage and manipulation of melodic sequences using melodic span tests ramdomly made with notes from the chromatic scale and the diatonic and pentatonic scales (from the less to the more familiar scale). There will be three experiments and for each experiment there will be 30 subjects, divided in 15 amateur singers and 15 professional musicians. In experiment 1 the subjects will carry out word span test and melodic span tests in the three different scales (chromatic, diatonic e pentatonic) in forwards and backwards. In the other two experiments the subjects will again carry out span tests, but only in forwards and there will be two factors that influence verbal storage: articulatory suppression in experiment 2 and the stimulus length will be larger in experiment 3. If the melodic storage is done by the phonological loop, we expect that the melodic span results in the three experiments have the same profile than the verbal span results.

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