Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Stephen Romero




absolute pitch, listening, note, mechanism, instrument, sample


The concept of Absolute Pitch, or the ability of an individual to identify or generate a specific pitch without the presentation of a reference note has undergone many studies, yet the exact mechanisms that underlie these tonal associations are still not completely understood. This study examined EEG data from non-AP possessors in a series of tasks to look for a negativity that occurs 145-155 ms after the presentation of a tone in AP possessors. If the AP negativity found is related to a general mechanism of auditory expertise rather than a specific pitch naming ability, the negativity at 145-155ms would be expected to be found in novices in an instrument naming task. Sound clips of instruments and tones were played for participants and EEG was recorded during Instrument Naming and Listening Task as well as for a Pitch Naming and Listening Task. Despite a greater accuracy in instrument naming tasks, the post-stimulus negativity was not found for the naming or listening tasks in non-AP possessors. This implies that the AP negativity found in the previous study is not simply due to an expertise related to an auditory naming mechanism. A small sample size, however, limited statistical power, and a larger sample size in future studies may render more conclusive findings.