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Research suggests Valproate pill could give anyone perfect pitch

Posted January 8, 2014
Research suggests Valproate pill could give anyone perfect pitch
(A) The setup of the AP task. The purple characters and squares indicate names and corresponding keys used in one treatment arm, the blue ones indicate those used in the other treatment arm. Colors appear here for illustration purposes only. Only black characters were used in the actual experiment and response keys were not highlighted. (B) The cross-over design of the study with the two treatment arms, VPA regimen, training and test times. Credit: Front. Syst. Neurosci., 03 December 2013 doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2013.00102
A team of researchers at Harvard University has found that the drug Valproate (valproic acid—normally used as a mood stabilizer) appears to offer a reset switch of sorts—those that take it find a part of their brain, the researchers say, resorting to that of a child—open to suggestion—and able to allow for learning to gain (absolute) perfect pitch. In their paper published in Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, the researchers describe a study they undertook of Valproate, where mice given the drug were able to develop skills generally only possible learned as pups and where human volunteers were able make gains in learning to have perfect pitch.

Perfect pitch is described as the ability to identify individual notes when heard and then to repeat them. A person with such an ability can tell which piano key is pressed without looking, for example, or to sing the note C, for example without hearing it first.


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