Susan Rogers, Ph.D earned her doctorate in Cognitive Psychology from McGill University. Susan is currently an Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music where she teaches record production, audio engineering, psychoacoustics, and music cognition.
Research at the Berklee Music Perception and Cognition Lab (BMPCL) explores the perceptual and cognitive processes underlying the music faculty. The current experiment addresses a centuries-old topic: the physical basis for the music-theoretic distinction between consonance and dissonance from a new perspective. Musical training in childhood develops a heightened aptitude for sound processing and it is difficult to turn off musical knowledge. This study looked at how musical training shapes sensitivity to auditory roughness – the physical component of dissonance. Musicians were recruited from four different categories: training on fretted, fretless, nonpitched instruments, and voice. Would listeners trained on fretless instruments such as cello and violin show a higher capacity to hear roughness components than listeners trained on nonpitched instruments such as drums? Would vocalists accustomed to adjusting their pitches to blend with other vocalists show a different listening sensitivity than the piano or guitar players whose instruments have a fixed pitch? These findings advance understanding of how musical training shapes the auditory pathway and how knowledge influences auditory perception. The work has implications for music education methods, and particularly ear training.