Running in Circles or Moving Along Lines: Conceptualization of Musical Elements in Sighted and Blind Children

Musicae Scientiae, 2013, Forthcoming

46 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2012 Last revised: 21 Feb 2013

See all articles by Mihailo Antovic

Mihailo Antovic

University of Nis

Austin Bennett

Case Western Reserve University - Department of Cognitive Science

Mark B. Turner

Case Western Reserve University - Department of Cognitive Science

Date Written: May 10, 2012

Abstract

In the present study we address the perceptual basis for developing abstract concepts by investigating if there are any differences in the way sighted and blind ten-year-olds conceptualize some basic musical relations. Thirty-four sighted and nine blind US elementary school students (seven congenitally blind) were exposed to ten diametrically opposed musical stimuli (a high and low tone, a quick and slow succession of pitches, a major and minor chord…) and asked to verbally describe what the first and what the second part of the sequence was like. Upon transcription, their verbalizations were classified into higher-order conceptual categories. Distributions of responses so grouped were then compared. Results corroborate previous findings that metaphorization is the principal mechanism in conceptualizing musical elements, and suggest a preference for spatial relations in describing the sequences. We suggest three possible explanations for this result: (1) the studied concepts might be more abstractly spatial, rather than visually-grounded, for both populations; (2) the concepts might derive from visuo-spatial stimulation for the sighted, and more generally embodied experience in the blind, which however produces the same linguistic output; (3) the concepts might be visuo-spatial in the sighted, and the blind could have adopted the terminology upon hearing it from the sighted, irrespective of their own sensory experience.

Keywords: music, conceptualization, blind, sighted, children

Suggested Citation

Antovic, Mihailo and Bennett, Austin and Turner, Mark B., Running in Circles or Moving Along Lines: Conceptualization of Musical Elements in Sighted and Blind Children (May 10, 2012). Musicae Scientiae, 2013, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2127739 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2127739

Mihailo Antovic (Contact Author)

University of Nis ( email )

Cirila i Metodija 2
Nis, 18000
Republic of Serbia

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/mihailoantovic/

Austin Bennett

Case Western Reserve University - Department of Cognitive Science ( email )

10900 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106-7068
United States

Mark B. Turner

Case Western Reserve University - Department of Cognitive Science ( email )

10900 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106-7068
United States

HOME PAGE: http://markturner.org

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