Generally, people tend to think that absolute pitch possessors or musical experts are superior in all of their auditory and musical abilities. However, not much data has been shown to prove whether any differences exist in the basic hearing abilities of absolute pitch possessors or musical experts for general sounds outside the context of music. In this study, we conducted four experiments to investigate if absolute pitch possessors or music experts are superior in their basic hearing abilities with respect to frequency resolution, temporal resolution, and spatial resolution. In Experiments 1 and 2, we measured frequency discrimination thresholds and thresholds to detect a tone in notched noise to examine the characteristics of frequency resolution. In Experiment 3, we conducted a gap detection task to measure the temporal resolution. Finally, in Experiment 4, we measured interaural time difference discrimination thresholds to examine the spatial resolution abilities. The overall results show that there were no significant differences in frequency, temporal and spatial resolutions among groups with different absolute pitch capability. This indicates that absolute-pitch possessors do not have particularly ‘good ears’ in terms of resolution.
2002 by The Acoustical Society of Japan