Levitin effect

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The Levitin effect refers to the phenomenon, first documented by Dr. Daniel J. Levitin in 1994, that people – even those without musical training – tend to remember songs in the correct key. The finding stood in contrast to the large body of laboratory literature suggesting that such details of perceptual experience are lost during the process of memory encoding. In other words, laboratory experiments supported the idea that most people are incapable of any sort of absolute pitch, and thus would remember melodies with relative pitch. Despite its status as a classic result in cognitive psychology,[1][2][3][4] the Levitin effect has just only recently (2012) been replicated for the first time.[5]


  1. ^ D. J. Levitin (1992). "Absolute memory for musical pitch: Evidence from the production of learned melodies". Perception & Psychophysics. 56: 414–423. doi:10.3758/bf03206733. PMID 7984397.
  2. ^ D. Huron (2006). "Exploring How Music Works Its Wonders". Cerebrum.[page needed]
  3. ^ "Common expressions: Levitin". Webster's Online Dictionary. Webster's. 2011-02-18. Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2011-02-18.
  4. ^ James Martin (Summer 2004). "A Mind For Music". McGill News. pp. 1–2.
  5. ^ "Comparative replication studies of the "Levitin Effect" in five laboratories", KU.edoc.