The effects of familiarity and complexity on appraisal of complex songs by cochlear implant recipients and normal hearing adults

J Music Ther. Summer 2003;40(2):78-112. doi: 10.1093/jmt/40.2.78.


The purposes of this study were (a) to develop a test of complex song appraisal that would be suitable for use with adults who use a cochlear implant (assistive hearing device) and (b) to compare the appraisal ratings (liking) of complex songs by adults who use cochlear implants (n = 66) with a comparison group of adults with normal hearing (n = 36). The article describes the development of a computerized test for appraisal, with emphasis on its theoretical basis and the process for item selection of naturalistic stimuli. The appraisal test was administered to the 2 groups to determine the effects of prior song familiarity and subjective complexity on complex song appraisal. Comparison of the 2 groups indicates that the implant users rate 2 of 3 musical genres (country western, pop) as significantly more complex than do normal hearing adults, and give significantly less positive ratings to classical music than do normal hearing adults. Appraisal responses of implant recipients were examined in relation to hearing history, age, performance on speech perception and cognitive tests, and musical background.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cochlear Implants*
  • Cognition*
  • Deafness / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Music*
  • Pitch Perception*
  • Speech Perception
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors