ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2020, Vol. 52 ›› Issue (4): 456-468.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2020.00456

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇


姚尧1,2, 陈晓湘1()   

  1. 1 湖南大学外国语学院, 长沙 410082
    2 长沙理工大学外国语学院, 长沙 410114
  • 收稿日期:2019-08-22 发布日期:2020-02-25 出版日期:2020-04-25
  • 通讯作者: 陈晓湘
  • 基金资助:
    * 国家社科基金项目(14BYY144);湖南省社科基金一般项目(18YBA071);长沙理工大学青年教师成长计划(2019QJCZ092);教育部人文社科青年基金项目(20YJC740082)

The effects of music training on categorical perception of Mandarin tones in 4- to 5-year-old children

YAO Yao1,2, CHEN Xiaoxiang1()   

  1. 1 School of Foreign Languages, Hunan University, Changsha 410082, China
    2 School of Foreign Studies, Changsha University of Science and Technology, Changsha 410014, China
  • Received:2019-08-22 Online:2020-02-25 Published:2020-04-25
  • Contact: CHEN Xiaoxiang


已有研究表明, 音乐训练能提高成人对普通话声调范畴感知的能力, 此种训练能否增强幼儿对声调范畴感知的能力?训练效果是否受到训练时间长短的影响?本研究对幼儿园4~5岁幼儿进行音乐训练, 共40人, 分成音乐组和控制组, 每组各20人, 追踪考察音乐训练和训练时间长短对幼儿声调范畴感知能力提升的影响。实验采用前测-中测-后测设计, 对音乐组开展每周3次, 每次30分钟, 以小钟琴演奏为主的音乐训练; 控制组不进行任何有组织的训练活动。结果发现, 12个月音乐训练提升了幼儿对声调范畴感知的程度, 表现为音乐组幼儿范畴边界宽度显著小于控制组, 而训练6个月时, 该优势并不显著。此外, 12个月音乐训练还加强了幼儿区分范畴内刺激声学差异的敏感性, 而对范畴间刺激的区分能力无显著提高。本研究结果支持了音乐学习的歌剧理论(OPERA), 音乐训练具有跨域迁移作用, 可提升4~5岁幼儿对普通话声调范畴感知的能力, 但只有长期持续的训练才可能真正提高幼儿的音高精细化加工水平。

关键词: 音乐训练, 跨域迁移, 声调范畴感知, 4~5岁幼儿


Music and speech share many acoustic commonalities and cognitive mechanisms. Previous studies have found that music training can improve categorical perception (CP) of Mandarin tones in adult musicians. However, it remains to be established whether music training can enhance the categorical perception of Mandarin tones in young children and whether the training effects can be influenced by the training duration.

The present study used a 2 (group: music training vs no-training) × 3 (test time: pre vs 6-month post vs 12-month post) between-and-within-subjects design to investigate the effects of music training on 4- to 5-year-old children’s CP of a Mandarin lexical tone continuum (from Tone 1 to Tone 2). The music training consisted of 110 sessions, 30 minutes per session, and three sessions per week for 12 months involving 20 preschoolers. The children were assigned to two groups, music training group (n = 20, age range from 49.69 months to 51.42 months, SD = 2.91 months) and control group (n = 20, age range from 51.69 to 52.56 months, SD = 3.0 months). In the music training group, the instructor guided children in activities leading to playing the small carillon, while children in the no-training group were given routine class activities. Each session of music training consisted four parts: Part 1 was “listen and sing songs” in which children learned to master notes and focus attention on subtle pitch changes; Part 2 was “listen and discriminate musical notes”, children learned to play a single note accurately according to the background music; Part 3 was “listen and play the carillon”, children listened to pitch changes in the background music, sang the notes and played the whole song melody; Part 4 was “play the carillon along with actions”, children listened to the background music and learned to play the carillon along with simple dancing actions. Children’s CP of tone continuum was measured before the learning began, after 6- month and after 12- month training using two tasks (identification test and discrimination test).

This study investigated if music training can enhance children’s boundary position, boundary width, within-category and between-category discrimination accuracy in CP of Mandarin Tone 1 and Tone 2 through 2 (group: music training vs no-training) ×3 (test time: pre vs 6-month post vs 12-month post) repeated measures ANOVA. The results revealed that although the perceptual boundary positions and ability to discriminate between-category tone pairs were unaffected by training, the boundary width values and within-category discrimination accuracies differed significantly between the experimental and control groups. The analysis of boundary width values and within-category discrimination accuracy revealed a significant interaction between group and test time. An analysis of simple effects further indicated that in the pretest and 6-month posttest, there was no significant effect between music training group and no-training group. In the 12-month posttest, the boundary width decreased significantly and the within-category discrimination accuracies increased significantly in the music training group, while no significant differences were found on boundary width and within-category discrimination accuracy in the control group. These results suggest that long-term music training can enhance children’s CP of Mandarin tonal contrasts.

In conclusion, our results supported the OPERA theory that music training can raise the steepness of boundary widths and enhance children’s sensitivity to subtle pitch differences between within-category sounds in the presence of robust mental representation in the service of CP of lexical tonal contrasts.

Key words: music training, cross-domain transfer, categorical perception of tonal contrast, 4- to 5-year-old children