Presentation by Dr. Sean Hutchins
Perception and Production Systems and the Human Voice
Abstract: Pitch is an important feature of the human voice and a key aspect of both language and music. In language, pitch can change the meaning of a spoken utterance, from a statement to a question, for example, or more subtly alter the emphasis. In music, pitch is one of the fundamental building blocks. Most people are readily able to perceive prosodic cues or wrong notes in music, but there is considerably less information on how we produce pitch with our voice. In this talk, I will present evidence from my research on pitch perception and imitation in music and language. These results show dissociations between pitch perception and production, including cases where vocal pitch production ability is worse than pitch perception ability and cases where it is better than pitch production ability. I will discuss the implications of these finding on the design of our brain and other topics of interest, such as why some people can’t sing in tune, conscious and unconscious perception, and the relationship between music and language.
Bio: Sean Hutchins is a postdoctoral researcher working in the laboratory of Prof. Isabelle Peretz at the International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research. He received his Ph.D. from McGill University in 2008, studying implicit memory for music and its role in production responses with Prof. Caroline Palmer.