Diana Deutsch

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Diana Deutsch (born February 15, 1938 in London, England) is a British-American perceptual and cognitive psychologist, born in London, England. She is currently professor of psychology at the University of California San Diego, and is a prominent researcher on the psychology of music. She is known for the musical and auditory illusions that she has discovered, which include the octave illusion, the scale illusion, the glissando illusion, the tritone paradox, the phantom words illusion, the speech-to-song illusion and the cambiata illusion, among others. She also studies the cognitive foundation of musical grammars, the ways in which people hold musical pitches in memory, and the ways in which people relate the sounds of music and speech to each other. In addition, she is acclaimed for her work on absolute pitch, or perfect pitch, which she has shown is far more prevalent among speakers of tone language.

Deutsch obtained a First Class Honors B.A. in psychology, philosophy and physiology from the University of Oxford in 1959, and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California San Diego in 1970. She is editor of the book The Psychology of Music, Academic Press, 1982, 2nd Edition 1999, 3rd Edition 2013, and author of the compact discs Musical Illusions and Paradoxes (1995) and Phantom Words and Other Curiosities (2003).

Deutsch has been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Acoustical Society of America, the Audio Engineering Society, the Society of Experimental Psychologists, the American Psychological Society, and the American Psychological Association. She has served as governor of the Audio Engineering Society, as chair of the Section on Psychology of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as president of Division 10 of the American Psychological Association, and as chair of the Society of Experimental Psychologists. In 2004, she was awarded the Rudolf Arnheim Award for Outstanding Achievement in Psychology and the Arts by the American Psychological Association. In 2008, she was awarded the Gustav Theodor Fechner Award for Outstanding Contributions to Empirical Aesthetics by the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics. In 2011 she was awarded the Science Writing Award for Professionals in Acoustics by the Acoustical Society of America. The Audio Engineering Society awarded her the Gold Medal Award for "lifelong contributions to the understanding of the human hearing mechanism and the science of psychoacoustics" in 2016.


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