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Type: Journal article
Title: The abilities of a musical savant and his family
Author: Young, R.
Nettelbeck, T.
Citation: Journal of autism and childhood schizophrenia, 1995; 25(3):231-248
Publisher: Plenum Publishing
Issue Date: 1995
ISSN: 0021-9185
Statement of
R. L. Young and T. Nettelbeck
Abstract: The ability of a male autistic savant (TR) to play two unfamiliar piano pieces after listening to a tape-recording was tested, closely following the procedures of Sloboda, Hermelin, and O'Connor (1985). Other components of TR's musical ability--pitch recognition, improvisation, and ability to provide harmonic accompaniment--were also examined. TR's musical precocity was examined in relation to his general level of intellectual functioning as indexed by a battery of standardized psychological tests of intelligence, memory, reading, visual organization, and creativity. His parents and two male siblings also completed tests of intelligence. Results from psychometric testing indicated that TR has idiosyncratic levels of cognitive functioning with difficulties in verbal reasoning but high levels of concentration and memory. His speed of information processing, as indicated by Inspection Time, and was better than average. TR demonstrated perfect pitch recognition and other family members also demonstrated excellent relative pitch. TR's ability to recall and perform structured music within both the diatonic and whole-tone systems was exceptional but dependent upon his familiarity with musical structure and was therefore organized and rule-driven. Furthermore, TR demonstrated competence in improvisation and composition, albeit restricted by his adherence to structural representations of familiar musical rules.
Keywords: Humans
Mental Recall
Pitch Discrimination
Psychomotor Performance
Autistic Disorder
Neuropsychological Tests
Educational Status
Rights: © 1995 Plenum Publishing Corporation
DOI: 10.1007/BF02179286
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest
Psychology publications

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