The contribution of local features to familiarity judgments in music


Journal Article


Bigand, E., Gérard, Y., Molin, P.




The contribution of local features to familiarity judgments in music

Journal / book / conference

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences


The contributions of local and global features to object identification depend upon the context. For example, while local features play an essential role in identification of words and objects, the global features are more influential in face recognition. In order to evaluate the respective strengths of local and global features for face recognition, researchers usually ask participants to recognize human faces (famous or learned) in normal and scrambled pictures. In this paper, we address a similar issue in music. We present the results of an experiment in which musically untrained participants were asked to differentiate famous from unknown musical excerpts that were presented in normal or scrambled ways. Manipulating the size of the temporal window on which the scrambling procedure was applied allowed us to evaluate the minimal length of time necessary for participants to make a familiarity judgment. Quite surprisingly, the minimum duration for differentiation of famous from unknown pieces is extremely short. This finding highlights the contribution of very local features to music memory.






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