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The Levitin effect refers to the phenomenon, first documented by Dr. Daniel J. Levitin in 1994, that people – even those without musical training – tend to remember songs in the correct key. The finding stood in contrast to the large body of laboratory literature suggesting that such details of auditory perceptual experience are lost during the process of auditory memory encoding. In other words, laboratory experiments supported the idea that most people are incapable of any sort of absolute pitch, and thus would remember melodies with relative pitch.

This finding has been replicated many times and is now considered a classic result in cognitive psychology.[1][2][3][4]


  1. D. J. Levitin (1992). Absolute memory for musical pitch: Evidence from the production of learned melodies. Perception & Psychophysics.Template:Pageneeded
  2. D. Huron (2006). Exploring How Music Works Its Wonders. Cerebrum.Template:Pageneeded
  3. Common expressions: Levitin. Webster's Online Dictionary. Webster's. URL accessed on 2011-02-18.
  4. Template:Cite newspaper

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