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Interesting article by Carol Krumhansl  in the latest Music Perception: Plink: ‘thin slices’ of music

In this experiment, tiny clips of music from various decades were played to participants. The clips were only 300 or 400 ms in duration – less than half a second long.  When the clips were 400ms, people could identify artist and title 25% of the time or more. But even when the clips were only 300ms, although the identification rate was lower,  people were still pretty good about judging other stuff about the song such as style and emotional content, and to some extent, even which decade the song came from.

The ‘plink’ in the title is a reference to Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink, about how we are able to make extraordinarily accurate judgements about things which we perceive for no more than a blink of an eye (see also Guy Claxton’s Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind: Why Intelligence Increases When You Think Less) .

Strange thing, synchroncity – I was playing this game on this site not long ago:  Name that tune in 1: it’s a ballet again

One thought on “Plink and you won’t miss it”
  1. Yeah, I think this idea about ‘thinking less’ is implicit in a lot of the studies that look at the gender gap in terms of educational achievement. We should chat about this over coffee some time.

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Jonathan Still, ballet pianist