That sounds interesting. I don’t have the book, but if anyone here can look up the titles (or DOIs) of the studies, please post them here so we can read them.
I did a quick search and found these articles:
University of Chicago Studies
There’s a relationship with auditory working memory capacity:
Absolute pitch (AP) is typically defined as the ability to label an isolated tone as a musical note in the absence of a reference tone. At first glance the acquisition of AP note categories seems like a perceptual learning task, since individuals must assign a category label to a stimulus based on a single perceptual dimension (pitch) while ignoring other perceptual dimensions (e.g., loudness, octave, instrument). AP, however, is rarely discussed in terms of domain-general perceptual learning mechanisms. This is because AP is typically assumed to depend on a critical period of development, in which early exposure to pitches and musical labels is thought to be necessary for the development of AP precluding the possibility of adult acquisition of AP. Despite this view of AP, several previous studies have found evidence that absolute pitch category learning is, to an extent, trainable in a post-critical period adult population, even if the performance typically achieved by this population is below the performance of a “true” AP possessor. The current studies attempt to understand the individual differences in learning to categorize notes using absolute pitch cues by testing a specific prediction regarding cognitive capacity related to categorization – to what extent does an individual’s general auditory working memory capacity (WMC) predict the success of absolute pitch category acquisition. Since WMC has been shown to predict performance on a wide variety of other perceptual and category learning tasks, we predict that individuals with higher WMC should be better at learning absolute pitch note categories than individuals with lower WMC. Across two studies, we demonstrate that auditory WMC predicts the efficacy of learning absolute pitch note categories. These results suggest that a higher general auditory WMC might underlie the formation of absolute pitch categories for post-critical period adults. Implications for understanding the mechanisms that underlie the phenomenon of AP are also discussed.
University of Arizona / Tel Aviv University
It looks like some kind of absolute pitch awareness might be more common than previously thought, though it might not be the exact same kind of absolute pitch shown in the videos above:
Overlap with synesthesia
This also looks interesting:
Absolute pitch (AP) and synesthesia are two uncommon cognitive traits that reflect increased neuronal connectivity and have been anecdotally reported to occur together in an individual. Here we systematically evaluate the occurrence of synesthesia in a population of 768 subjects with documented AP. Out of these 768 subjects, 151 (20.1%) reported synesthesia, most commonly with color. These self-reports of synesthesia were validated in a subset of 21 study subjects, using an established methodology. We further carried out combined linkage analysis of 53 multiplex families with AP and 36 multiplex families with synesthesia. We observed a peak NPL LOD = 4.68 on chromosome 6q, as well as evidence of linkage on chromosome 2, using a dominant model. These data establish the close phenotypic and genetic relationship between AP and synesthesia. The chromosome 6 linkage region contains 73 genes; several leading candidate genes involved in neurodevelopment were investigated by exon resequencing. However, further studies will be required to definitively establish the identity of the causative gene(s) in the region.