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Structural integration in the processing of linguistic and musical syntax

Lane, Molly (2014) Structural integration in the processing of linguistic and musical syntax. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In recent years, a small body of research has developed surrounding the relationships between various aspects of music and language, which combines the disciplines of psycholinguistics and music cognition. Perhaps the most well-studied relationship to date involves the ways in which people process linguistic and musical structure, or syntax. The current study tests whether syntactic expectations which are found in various syntactic structures (object-extracted relative clause sentences, garden-path sentences, and subject- and object-extracted relative clause sentences) interact with musical expectations, and whether violating musical expectations magnifies the costs for violating those syntactic expectations. This study manipulated two independent variables, each with two levels: linguistic condition (easy, hard) and musical condition (consonant, dissonant). Each variable was measured based on the effect it had on reading times using self-paced reading in three different types of syntactic structures. Participants completed a self-paced reading task in which sentences were read one segment at a time and each segment was accompanied by a major scale (which sometimes contained a structural violation). The results of this study showed that the differences in reading times between the difficult and easy linguistic conditions were larger in the consonant musical condition than in the dissonant musical condition. This finding is the opposite of what was expected based on the results of previous studies (e.g., Slevc, Rosenberg, & Patel, 2009). This result suggests that the ways in which the linguistic and musical violations are manipulated may be of critical importance to the pattern of the interaction between them.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Lane, Molly mcl49@pitt.eduMCL49
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorDickey, Michaelmdickey@pitt.eduMDICKEY
Committee MemberWarren, Tessatessa@pitt.eduTESSA
Committee MemberHula,
Committee MemberSlevc, L.
Date: 22 April 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 4 March 2014
Approval Date: 22 April 2014
Submission Date: 15 April 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 78
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Communication Science and Disorders
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: syntax, music cognition, syntactic processing, syntactic integration, musical syntax
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2014 19:39
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:19


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