Questions about APB and APA

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mornings
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Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:08 pm

Questions about APB and APA

Postby mornings » Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:32 am

Hello all, I just registered for the forum because I have a bunch of questions and I hope you'll forgive what might turn into a really long post.

First a little about me and my status with ETC. I bought ETC 5.1 several years ago, I really don't know precisely how long ago but it was before I moved into my current apartment and I've been here for at least 3 years, probably nearly 4. I have absolutely no musical training at all aside from some piano lessons when I was a kid (I'm 40 now) in which I never got past the simplest of melodies. In fact my musical sense is so lacking that I seriously thought I might be tone deaf because things other people talked about were such an utter mystery to me and I didn't have the slightest clue what they were hearing or what I should be listening for. It was in this context that desperately wanting to hear music better I found APB and gave it a try. Back when I first started using it I was completely and utterly lost. I couldn't even reliably blast a single column of aliens before they landed on me and the comparison stage when you make a mistake was often so fruitless and confusing I would have to just let it suggest, fix the suggestions, and sometimes go through another three "loads" so it would resuggest the remaining errors (when I had so many mistakes I couldn't remember which ones I had marked which way because it suggests by erasing your guesses). I could hear there was a difference in notes but only the very different ones. Like when they were really high. And eventually I stopped playing. However during the intervening time I strained to just appreciate and differentiate (not identify, just hear a difference) sounds in songs on the radio and maybe that helped somehow because when I found my old copy of APB on my hard drive while I was sorting through folders, and then started playing it again I started to make progress. (I made some progress the first time but not like now). I'm currently at Cadet 4th Class and can almost always complete the first wave of aliens without them landing on me, particularly if I get a rainbow mothership or two. But, and here I don't know if it's fatigue, although I doubt it because I can start a new game and complete another first wave, I still can't complete the second wave. As far as I can tell there are at least three things going on. bonks, and I can pretty much always get those now. bonk bonks, and I can almost always get those now too, and lots of bonks at once which fall into two categories for me, the ones that obviously have my note in them and the ones that are tricky or completely unreadable. I know the lots of bonks are chords and I assume some of them are two note chords and others three or four but I don't know any chords or the rules for them so I don't know if there even are four note chords. But I think I might be finding the two note ones easy and the three or more note ones tricky, although I'm not sure. All I know is that sometimes the note jumps out at me, sometimes if I strain to hear it I can find it, and sometimes I'm baffled. But I'm absolutely delighted with my recent progress especially because unlike in the beginning when I could only tell the really different notes apart I really don't have any problems with single notes anymore. There is a note right next to the right note (C is the right note in the beginning right?) that still sounds very similar but whenever it comes up I am rarely fooled, somehow it just sounds not quite right and I might have to play it again just to check but I'm not usually fooled. It's this in particular that makes me happy because I wonder if it's a semitone. That's one of the things I didn't think I'd ever hear. There is an episode of a show called Faulty Towers in which the main character rings a bell and everyone thinks it's the fire drill for the day, and he's like "no, no, that's not the fire drill, the fire drill sounds like this", he rings another bell and says, "see? that's at least a semitone different." And I'm like "A semitone! Groan, I can't even differentiate *tones*". So you can probably imagine my feeling of accomplishment if I really can hear and differentiate a semitone. But even if it is only a tone difference that's still awesome to me. I should say I doubt it is a semitone since I'm at such a low level that I doubt APB is including semitones yet, but one of the weaknesses to me (or maybe it's an intentional feature of the learning strategy) of APB is that it doesn't tell you the names of what you're hearing, or what tones it's including and/or excluding so I really don't have any idea whether I'm differentiating all tones, a subset of tones, all tones in a particular octave (although I definitely assume I am only in a single octave now) or whatever else. It also doesn't give you much feedback on what's in store for you. How far along am I until the next rank? When will it start including more tones? I can only shrug and let it bonk tones at me and hope for the best. However since it seems to be working I am certainly not complaining. I do have some questions though so here they go...

1) I see that APB has been replaced by APA and I read a forum post where the reasons for this were discussed and one of the reasons given by Mr Aruffo was that the comparison phase is integral to APA whereas in APB it is only used when you make a mistake. He said that in APB it can feel like a punishment or like you are cheating. But isn't it precisely that? I definitely feel like I'm cheating, or at least using a crutch when I use one note to identify another. If the point of APB or APA is to learn absolute pitch then isn't comparing pitches contrary to the goal? At my current state I can usually identify my pitch without comparisons even right off the bat when I start playing, but when I make a mistake and there are the six options to identify, I go in, find my pitch in one button, and then use that pitch to evaluate the trickier buttons. This is still useful because it helps me correct my errors and hone in on what I should be listening for but it is also still a comparison process and is therefore relative by nature (I'm comparing "this" relative to "that"). These days I can often get all six buttons correctly flagged on the first try and then I'm back to identifying pitches in isolation (I never use the melody word because it's still a mystery to me that doesn't help me at all because I'm lost in it). But in APA all you do is compare and there's never the opportunity to test your ability to identify the tone without using the crutch of relative comparison between buttons. This seems to take a game with two modes (comparison between buttons and assessing sounds without reference) and turns it into a game with only one mode where once you find a button that you think is your note you can use it to flesh out all the other buttons. I see APB's play mechanic as an oscillating cycle of "learn" (compare buttons), and "test what you've learned" (identify without comparison) until you make a mistake at which point you go back to a "learn" cycle. Whereas I feel like APA eliminates the testing phase. Isn't this a step in the wrong direction?

2) I downloaded the trial of APA and found it so easy to get all my chickens across the road (I'm sure it gets harder), that still checking out the interface, I set my instrument to Clavinet just to play around because the name sounded funny. And suddenly I couldn't get a single chicken across the road reliably. I tried two other instruments with similarly dismal results. Is this normal when switching instruments or does it mean that I am listening to the wrong thing in the default piano notes and identifying them by timbre which I've read a few forum posts about or something else other than tone?

3) As an extension to the last question should I be switching instruments periodically to avoid identifying notes based on the wrong characteristics or should I stick with piano for now?

4) I play APB as fast as I can because I don't want to give myself a chance to analyze and overthink the notes. I want the hearing part of my brain to do the work and not the thinking part of my brain. In other words I just want them to hit me like they do when I am hearing them well and not be like "hmm, well, it sounds like..." I play so fast that sometimes in APB I mistake one of the sounds it plays between it's questions as the question and accidentally hit the button when I either hear my note or don't hear it in the last sound that it plays before the actual question. But in APA I quickly compare, assess, and identify the notes painting them accordingly and then click 'Go' eager to do the next set only to have to watch the chicken take a seeming eternity of seconds to waddle across the road. This really bogs down the game feel. So the question is in the full version of ETC6 is there a way to make the chickens run faster without affecting the note speed?

5) I keep seeing that upgrades to ETC are free. But I haven't found a page that discusses the terms of this offer. Does the free offer extend to ETC 5.1 and 3 or 4 years ago? or is there a time limit or version limit? If it does extend to my case what is the process for requesting an upgrade? Do I need to go back and find my original purchase email receipt or something like that?

I feel like I'm forgetting some of the questions I meant to ask but if so they've slipped my mind for the time being. I just want to say thanks to Mr Aruffo for your great software and learning strategy. Nothing has given me more hope for learning to appreciate and identify tones than the pictures on your pages showing the white dots in the different shapes and asking "Here are three shapes that all have one thing in common. How long does it take you to see what it is?", and then stating "And once you see that absolute feature, then you can recognize it no matter where it appears". Because it takes no time at all to see the pattern and once you do it is indeed completely obvious how it applies to future shapes regardless of their other qualities. Why wouldn't the same concept apply to sound? Perhaps it's easier for most people to recognize visual patterns than it is to parse out individual tones from complex sound mixtures but to me the fundamental concept seems irrefuteable. If you know what you are listening for you should be able to listen for it no matter what it is embedded in just exactly the same way as you can isolate a single voice in a loud room full of talking people. Everyone I know has this ability, why should it work for something as complex as a voice in a chaotic jumble of other voices and not for something as simple as a tone in something as structured as music? It seems like it should be just a matter of learning what to listen for and training your brain to isolate that sound like it isolates a single voice. Learning pitch is still a challenge of course but it just doesn't seem so mysterious and therefore now seems like a matter of work and practice instead of magic. In other words it seems less daunting and more doable. And as I make progress I get more and more encouraged. This morning in that "place" that your mind is when you are waking up but aren't quite there yet, the inbetween place where you are semi-conscious but not "awake", a snippet from church from way back (I don't go anymore) popped into my head. Not a song but one of the almost-sung back and forths between the priest and the congregation. And while in the past it had always been just words I suddenly appreciated it in a whole new way. They weren't just flowering it up pointlessly, well they were flowering it up, but in the past I didn't see the point. And as it came into my head I was like "Wow!" (I really wasn't thinking words at this point, just insert the emotional equivalent of "Wow!"). Suddenly I heard it for the first time and realized why they were doing it that way. It seemed like there was a message there. Not a religious message, not a syntactical or word message, just a pattern I'd never heard (or rather never appreciated) before which was so tangible it was almost a message unto itself, a relationship amongst the ups and downs... a melody... Hmm, maybe I should pay more attention to the "Melody Word" when I play APB! Anyway, that was the Wow!, I'd heard it a thousand times, and it had flown right over my head but now I saw something new in it. Even if I couldn't name or reproduce the notes I could see a pattern.

At this point you're probably wondering what is the point of that story. Well, the reason I mention it is because in looking at your website and reading forum posts everyone seems so fixated on absolute pitch (naturally of course since that is it's intended purpose). Can you learn it? What's the best method?, Does this method work? And you are probably almost always communicating with people who have pretty good musical skills who just want to expand to a more solid appreciation of pitch. So I thought maybe it would be interesting to you to know that aside from the absolute pitch issue the ETC software seems to me to be a really powerful music training device in general particularly for someone utterly naive to music. Or maybe you already know that, it is called "Ear Training Companion" after all. But my point is that although I'm interested in absolute pitch too, even if I make no further progress and all I get out of it is the experience of appreciating the pattern and tonal interrelationships of a melody that I'd never really understood before, like I feel like I did this morning, then it was worth every penny I paid for it and more. Thanks very much!

aruffo
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Postby aruffo » Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:25 am

Gracious me.. much text.. let me pinpoint the questions I can answer quickly.

2. Perfectly normal when switching instruments, and part of the process.
3. You may want to introduce additional instruments gradually.
4. Check the options menu; you can turn off the animations.
5. The free offer extends all the way back to v1. The only terms are that if you paid for the software at any point, then you're entitled to the latest.

Thanks for your support and encouragement.!

lorelei
Posts: 221
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 7:36 am

Postby lorelei » Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:32 pm

Hmm, sounds like it has helped you. I especially appreciate your descriptions...
Another thing you may consider is training your relative pitch capability. I can assume that it will help you (though I can't speak from experience). In any case, it will add more to your musical experience, and unlike absolute pitch (which is something people here, namely Aruffo, are finding a way to train, although the method is still a work in progress), it has been proven over and over that there are clear, well-traveled ways to acquire better relative pitch. I suggest you take a look at some of the programs that teach it, in addition to APA and ABA.

mornings
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Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:08 pm

Postby mornings » Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:15 am

Thanks for the quick reply Mr Aruffo. I'll email you and send you whatever I can dig up to establish that I did indeed pay for it way back in the day.

One last question though... Is the badge that is getting uncovered on the right not the badge for the game, or the badge for Cadet, but just the badge for Cadet 4th Class!?!? OMG! if so I've made no progress at all! even to my next Class let alone rank.

... well ok two questions. Is there a page somewhere that I can go to see all the badges?, I found a Rank list but not images of the badges or how many there are or anything.

mornings
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:08 pm

Postby mornings » Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:23 am

Hi, Lorelei, I've read many of your posts and appreciate your descriptions of what absolute pitch is like. It's very interesting to read what it's like on the other side of the fence, not only in regards to absolute pitch but also what it's like to be someone who really understands music well. I have to admit that I'm interested in relative pitch as well as absolute pitch and I sometimes think trying to work on absolute pitch is way too ambitious of a goal for someone who isn't even very tonally proficient at all. I mean what the heck am I thinking? But at the same time I wonder if it's best that way. Is learning absolute pitch as much a process of unlearning relative pitch as it is anything else? Are all those categories and names part of what gets in the way of hearing the tones?

What I mean (and this is all just wild guesswork) is that if everything someone hears falls into the category of some "blah blah thingie" which isn't a simple tone. Like a "major third in C minor flat", or whatever. Then somewhere in that thing that they are referencing may be a C, but they are labelling the entire sound structure instead of that C, and because their brain is a sophisticated information processing system it gets better and better at listening to the structure as a whole as opposed to the components of it. This is completely natural, and very often desirable, it is the skill needed to focus on the forest instead of the trees, and to see the larger picture in a disparate set of stimili. But in order to do so the brain has to focus on what is important. And focusing on, or emphasizing, what is important inherently includes de-emphasizing what is not important. And since the C-ness of the sound isn't as important to the way the listener is labelling, using, contextualizing, and processing the sounds as is the larger sound structure in general (the chord of whatever) the brain starts to trim the fat and literally filter out that information before it reaches the higher centers. In other words the subconscious mind almost throws out that information and the listener isn't even conscious that he heard it in the first place. Furthermore if you define hearing as a conscious process then you could argue that he literally really didn't hear it. The tone of the particular notes had been aggregated by the lower centers and are no longer discernable to the conscious listener, simply not there, it's not a matter of consciously listening harder (at least not in the short term) because there is nothing there to listen to, it's been edited out because it was deemed not important. If something like that was true then the challenge wouldn't be to consciously listen for a particular quality of a note or tone, but to really strain to appreciate every nuance of sound in general so as to eventually convince your subconsious mind to give you more information from the raw signals of the vibrating eardrum. Then once you have that information you can recontextualize and recategorize it into notes, and then and only then rebuild relative distinctions on top of that foundation. I think this may be why children can learn absolute pitch but adults rarely if ever do. It's not genetic, and it's not because only kids can learn new things. I've heard enough about brain plasticity to know that amazing things are possible. Instead, I think it's because most adults try to build absolute pitch after learning relative pitch. Or put another way they try to layer absolute pitch on a foundation of relative pitch. And because part of relative pitch and musical knowlege is selective hearing, focus, and big picture contextualization of composite stimuli (chords, rising, falling, this to that, that to this, etc.) They end up having to try to take that composite stimuli and break it apart. Almost to mathematically factor it, the point of that analogy being that, mathematically, factoring is much much harder than computing a product (multiplying). So much so that modern commercial encryption is built upon the inherent difficulty in factoring large numbers. Maybe what adults should do (if they can) is completely deconstruct their relative pitch, lose the ability completely to the extent that they can. Then build tonal recognition as a foundation and rebuild relative pitch afterwards as a layer on top of that foundation. Then they (their subconsious) would be taking the components (tones), extracting any tonal information that they need, and only then "multiplying" to get the relative tonal relationships and perceptions of higher musical phenomena. Again, this is as opposed to recieving a composited stimili and trying to deconstruct it back to a simpler or more fundamental form.

To give an example of what I mean... Everywhere people talk about pitch by comparing it to color, heck the quality of pitch is even referred to as chroma. But then as far as I've seen they always show pure colors (probably because they are portraying pure tones with them). But the composite stimuli thing I'm referring to would be a situation where you have three notes together. Say red, blue, and yellow... what would that make? Some kind of brown? Anyway, how much harder would it be to hear that specific brown and then guess if it had a blue in it as opposed to a blue sharp (lighter blue), instead of hearing the red, hearing the blue or blue sharp, hearing the yellow, and then percieving the brown. I'm guessing that's how your specific brain does it since you have absolute pitch, and that although you may be able to focus your attention and actually notice the brownness first, it's not until your brain has subconsciously prepared, composited, and assimilated the redness, blueness, and yellowness. But I'm totally guessing. Is this all wrong?

In any event, I'm not sure whether I did a decent job of getting my point across but the bottom line of what I'm getting at is that I don't think that I buy the idea that children have an insurmountable natural, genetic, or age related advantage in learning absolute pitch. I think the problem is that there is a very critically important order in which music should be taught to adults (first notes and bare tones, then labels for those tones and tonal recognition, and only after full mastery of tonal recognition should come higher musical concepts and categories from chords up through "major thirds in the key of C minor flats" or whatever). In this way they would hopefully develop a properly layered heirarchy of progressively more abstract information processing, instead of trying to extract the concrete from the abstract ex post facto. The funny thing is that this is precisely the reverse of what generally happens. Most people (seemingly from what I read) know what a major third is, and because of this they presumably end up trying to hear a major third like they usually do and to then pull out a "C". Instead of hearing the (three?) notes in a major third and then integrating them (subconsciously) into the perception of a major third. In other words the information flow is all wrong. I'd be willing to bet this is the primary stumbling block for most people that try to master absolute pitch. But, even if this wasn't mostly all guesswork it would still be very hard to substantiate because it doesn't seem like you'd be able to find all that many adults that a) don't already have absolute pitch, b) haven't already been "spoiled" by out of order instruction, and/or c) are still so interested in musical appreciation they are willing to put forth the time, energy, and discomfort to unlearn their old way of hearing only to have to completely relearn it again. Then again, considering how musically uneducated I am maybe I'm just saying all this because it gives me hope that I might be in a particularly good position to accomplish absolute pitch.

In any event, it sure is a lot to think about, and I may just take your suggestion and try to study relative pitch at the same time as using APB and APA. Even if it meant that I never mastered real absolute pitch it would still be a huge step up from where I am today. :)

Thanks very much for your post and food for thought.

PS: To kind of push my idea of information flow and proper ordering of processing from the concrete to the abstract in music instead of the after-the-fact extraction of the concrete (tones) from the abstract (chords and higher relational concepts) let me ask a color related question. (which I really don't know the answer to since I'm not a painter any more than I'm a pitch perfect listener). Would it make any sense to most people to claim that orange was like purple because they both had red in them? Or even more analagously to claim that you should be able to perceive the "redness" of orange and see it in the same way and as the same thing as the "redness" of purple? To me if you wanted to do that you would have to train your mind to preserve the message of redness from earlier stages of processing and present it alongside the message of purple so you could choose which to focus on. And I do literally mean "from the earlier stages of processing" because we don't have purple or orange receptors in our retinas. Those perceptions are processed and composited from raw retinal data where red is indeed a receptor type. In any event once you were percieving it as purple it seems to me like the "red" message would either have been preserved or not preserved, but I really doubt that someone could reliably extract it, especially over a wide range of different hues and values. I think this is why people without absolute pitch are baffled by people with absolute pitch and vice versa. One group thinks it's almost a magic trick because to them the "redness/C-ness" message has not been preserved and there is literally nothing there to hear (in terms of tone). And the other group can't understand why most people can't hear what they do because for them the "redness/C-ness" message was preserved and is as obvious as hearing a thunderclap.

But again, I'm just wild --- guessing

lorelei
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Postby lorelei » Mon Jun 11, 2012 4:32 pm

Hmm...
Well, I can't really comment on whether or not learning absolute pitch requires unlearning relative pitch and relearning it, because I don't really remember anything about acquiring it besides just remember having it. However, I can say that relative and absolute pitch do complement each other, since I use both (or I guess I do anyway). For example, when you play me a C major chord, I hear the C majorness and the individual notes. Now how much of what I'm determining through absolute pitch and how much through relative, I'm not 100% sure myself.

mornings wrote:But the composite stimuli thing I'm referring to would be a situation where you have three notes together. Say red, blue, and yellow... what would that make? Some kind of brown? Anyway, how much harder would it be to hear that specific brown and then guess if it had a blue in it as opposed to a blue sharp (lighter blue), instead of hearing the red, hearing the blue or blue sharp, hearing the yellow, and then percieving the brown.

For your color analogy here... instead of just having the notes being summed up and making a shade of brown, well I would describe hearing this more as just layers... I hear the layer with the red, blue and yellow notes (if you want to call them that). However, I also hear the redness of the chord itself (assuming the red is the tonic), and assuming that some other unrelated color, say, beige, is the color of the chord in RP terms (major, minor, dominant, augmented, diminished), then I would hear a red-beige chord (note: I don't mix these colors, they are two separate layers) and on another layer, I would hear the red, blue and yellow notes. So RP does come into the picture, but it doesn't mix up the AP picture... as for which perception comes first, I couldn't tell you, it happens so fast. I don't actually have synesthesia, I'm just playing along with this analogy...

Of course, there are varying groups among AP:ers as well. Some may just hear the red and beige colors of the chord, and not the individual red, yellow and blue notes. Then there may be others who don't hear the beigeness, just the redness of the chord and individual notes, and even some who just perceive the red, blue and yellow notes.


mornings wrote:And since the C-ness of the sound isn't as important to the way the listener is labelling, using, contextualizing, and processing the sounds as is the larger sound structure in general (the chord of whatever) the brain starts to trim the fat and literally filter out that information before it reaches the higher centers. In other words the subconscious mind almost throws out that information and the listener isn't even conscious that he heard it in the first place. Furthermore if you define hearing as a conscious process then you could argue that he literally really didn't hear it. The tone of the particular notes had been aggregated by the lower centers and are no longer discernable to the conscious listener, simply not there, it's not a matter of consciously listening harder (at least not in the short term) because there is nothing there to listen to, it's been edited out because it was deemed not important. If something like that was true then the challenge wouldn't be to consciously listen for a particular quality of a note or tone, but to really strain to appreciate every nuance of sound in general so as to eventually convince your subconsious mind to give you more information from the raw signals of the vibrating eardrum.


Well, that's an interesting theory... If it holds true, that change would happen in the thalamus, since the ears themselves have a very precise pitch detection mechanism. However, unfortunately I can't say whether or not it holds true. However, according to this article, certain brain areas are more asymmetric in AP:ers than non-AP:ers http://musicianbrain.com/papers/Keenan_AP_2001.pdf Whether or not this proves anything, I can't say.

mornings
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Postby mornings » Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:31 pm

...I would describe hearing this more as just layers... (note: I don't mix these colors, they are two separate layers)... as for which perception comes first, I couldn't tell you, it happens so fast.


Wow! It sounds like you are describing exactly what I was referring to, particularly in my PS. about the messages being preserved or not preserved. I didn't mention layers but that is actually almost exactly what I meant. I was guessing that you don't ever look for a C inside a chord you have a separate C layer. In fact after reading what you said I don't think layers is exactly the right way to describe it since you say that you don't hear or notice them in any sequence, they all are just there at the same time. But layers suggest an order since one layer is always under another layer so to me it sounds more like your sensations are channeled. Like you have multiple channels presented to you. You have the notes in a channel (or multiple channels since I have no way of guessing if you have a channel for each note) and the chord or chords in another channel. And to you they seem like they are all there at once because they are presented to your consiousness all at the same time (even if your subconscious is processing them at different stages the completed and processed stimuli arrive at your conscious level at the same time.)

But the overriding point is that it doesn't sound like you are ever hunting for a note inside of a chord. You hear the chord chroma at the same time as the note chroma(s) and they are completely separate things. Did I understand you correctly? The reason this is so interesting and possibly important is because it seems like APB and APA are specifically trying to teach the listener to hear the notes *inside* of the chords. To extract them so to speak. And this sounds like it is exactly the opposite of how you are experiencing them. This is what I was getting at when I suggested that maybe what I should be trying to do is train my brain to provide me different data instead of trying to change the way that I respond to the data it does provide me. In other words I need to train my brain to provide me channeled stimuli like yours sounds like it does. More and more, trying to reliably hear the notes in a chord sounds like a losing proposition to me, especially after reading some of Chris's research notes where he shows just how mixed up the frequencies can be by showing notes mixed together and their overlap. Particularly the diagrams where he shows that the only thing unique to a note is the tiny tiny triangle of non-overlappingness at the top. In this context I really fear that once the notes are mixed (presented to the consciousness as a chord) it's really not possible to reliably and infallibly perceive that tiny bit that is unique to a note. Certainly not as infallibly as the notes that come to you completely separate and seemingly unmixed (a channel unto themselves)

I am very interested in the paper you linked but I haven't read the whole thing yet. I have read some of it though and I was particularly intrigued by the first page which made it clear that it wasn't just the size of the Planum Temporale that the study was focused on. But rather since there is a Planum Temporale region in both hemispheres they were focusing less on size than asymmetry, and that AP listeners had a higher asymmetry. The interesting thing about this is that the study specifically states that the best predictor of AP was not a larger region on the left but a *smaller* region on the right. Even going so far as to unequivically state that "The absolute size of the right PT and not the left PT was a better predictor of music group membership, possibly indicating 'pruning' of the right PT rather than expansion of the left underlying the increased PT asymmetry in AP musicians." In other words AP listeners have an increased asymmetry because they have a smaller Planum Temporale on the right than in non AP listeners. This would actually make sense to me since my hypothesis is that AP brains are presenting simpler input to the consciousness (notes instead of relationships and other higher abstractions, although I think the higher abstractions are still presented from the left PT). And a brain that was doing so might simply forgo the further abstractions on one side of the brain in order to be more efficient. (I mean why go through the effort of processing it if you aren't going to present it, hence the "pruning" mentioned in the study) This would also explain why you have "layers" or "channels", because you are getting different stimuli from the left PT and the right PT. Obviously this is again all wild guesswork on my part but it's still very interesting that AP listeners are best predicted (when evaluating brain structure) by a smaller region rather than a larger one. In any event, and at the very least, I guess this is one case where bigger isn't always better. :)

mornings
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Postby mornings » Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:29 am

Omg! I just went up a class!!! I was trying hard not to strain but to still really pay attention and suddenly I was hearing it. Or at least I felt like I was. I've been doing fine on single notes and double notes (like bonk bonk) but was failing miserably at chords. It was almost like a brick wall, but like I said, suddenly I was hearing them... or at least a lot more of them, some are still pretty opaque. And then wonder of wonders, It PROMOTED me! :shock:

I might demote myself because it's starting games really hard now, but just out of curiosity, what are the criteria for forced demotion?

(this is in APB)

aruffo
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Postby aruffo » Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:00 am

Goodness.. it's been a while since I thought about that.. it's a matter of getting blown up, of course, but I can't recall what the formula was.

mornings
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Postby mornings » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:44 am

aruffo wrote:Goodness.. it's been a while since I thought about that.. it's a matter of getting blown up, of course, but I can't recall what the formula was.


Thanks for your reply Chris. I guess for the time being I'm not too worried about demotion because I took a different strategy instead and just created a new player each time I reached Cadet 3rd Class so I could start from the beginning. So far I've done it 16 times now. And It seems to be working to improve me because the second to last time I did it I actually made so few mistakes I got promoted before even finishing the first wave.

I was hoping you'd let me ask you a few more questions about APB though. I really like playing it a lot, particularly since as I mentioned previously I feel like the play dynamics fit into a really nice cycle of testing what you know until you make a mistake and then learning what you did wrong when you do, whereupon you go back into a testing phase until you mess up again and then get to go back into a learning/comparing cycle. But I know you deprecated the program because you thought the comparing cycle wasn't emphasized enough and I think I remember reading a post in which you stated you actually thought APB might be counterproductive or harmful. Can you elaborate on your reasoning for that? If it's in your research notes somewhere I haven't encountered it yet but would be happy for a link. And if it's not there I'd really like to hear your thoughts.

Secondly I was wondering... I know that APB has been officially deprecated but is there any chance whatsoever that you might go back and do one last cycle of bug fixes for those of us who still play it? Some changes might be simple, like when the rainbow mothership is all the way to one side and about to go up and escape the game seems to think that it has actually rolled over to the other side of the screen and you can only hit it by going all the way over to the opposite end. This isn't normally a problem unless you happen to be in a situation where the aliens are blocking that end but it seems like it might be an easy fix.

But the bug that really really hurts is a kind of a delay. I don't know whether it's because some of the chords have an extra lead-in or if it's the game inserting delays for some reason but in every single game I play I run into it multiple times where I think it's played the question and I click and it really hasn't. It's not just me being sloppy either because when I watch it happen (as opposed to getting suckered by it) there is at least a 2 second delay before the question is played. The real problem is that the buttons are clickable even though the question hasn't been asked. If I pay attention I can tell when this happens because the buttons are shadowed out until the question is played. But this is hard to keep vigilant about especially when you are focusing on hearing and trying to respond quickly without overthinking your choices (which always seems to lead to incorrect answers). This might be an easy fix too, by simply making the buttons unclickable until the question has been asked and the icons beneath them are unshadowed.

I know your time is precious and you don't prefer APB but I really love the game so I thought I'd see what you might say about the possibility of revisiting it. Or even reintegrating it into ETC as an alternate game, or as a game to test your realtime non-comparing skills after you've made some progress in APA.

In any event thank you very much for your awesome software, I can make it past the second wave now, not usually, but sometimes. And when I do I don't think it's just because I'm getting lucky. In other words, I'm making progress! I don't know how I would go about this without ETC so like I said, thanks so much!

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Postby aruffo » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:13 am

I'm actually a tad embarrassed to say that the ETCv5 source code is lost.. bit of a long story involving backups and Realbasic upgrades and lack of backwards compatibility.

The short answer to your question, though, is that the act of comparing the sounds-- not the identification of a tone-- is the learning mechanism. That is, comparing the sounds makes it possible to identify the tone, so being able to identify the tone is a byproduct of learning. So it made sense, initially, to have the unlock-code procedure in APB, because I figured that errors meant that learning should occur... but then I realized that in between unlock-code procedures, learning was NOT occurring (as directly as it should). So APA came about to bring the comparison task front n center.


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