Testing Times calls for Testing measures – see what I did there…………..

Ok, so after my last sciency/music blog (which I have purely selected because, well, that is what I am studying at the moment. And really it is fascinating stuff, honest. I have had questions come back to me such as, what is visuospatial or spatial-temporal abilities? And what are golden section divisions? Along with other things…. so I think by explaining the meta analysis of this concept, all will be revealed. Also, perhaps more interestingly, for those who perhaps shy away from academic research, you may want to take a peak at the part that discusses the effect of music on arousal and mood, because, well you know, I reckon that benefits everyone somehow hey?

Maybe I should start this article….. Once upon a time in a laboratory far far away in 1999, a chap called Chabris thought it would be a cool idea to get 714 people together and conduct an experiment. Some of these peeps listened to 10 minute relaxation instructions whilst others sat in silence. So the deal here is to understand the effect on abstract reasoning and spatial temporal ability. Before you say “you what now?” Let me just explain what those things are for all you lamans out there. One of the tests was a paper folding and cutting test (a bit like origami, although pieces tended to be missing….). So this is an example of a visuospatial test. Visuospatial awareness is about perception and that perception relating to objects. As I mentioned before, the idea that Mozart makes you brainy is not really factually correct. So, what is helpful to understand is what impact it does have on neurology and medical conditions as, well that is practical right? Hence why the measurements have been selected into these 2 categories. Rauscher seems to be the main dude regarding these studies. What I am keen to understand is why he seems to have such different results to the other authors? Anyway, I digress, back to the study……It would transpire that whilst there was no difference in paper cutting folding and envisioning after the test, there was a substantial difference between Mozart’s music and relaxation instructions, probably because Mozart’s music is particularly arousing. So does this start to interest you a little? Read on then, I will get to that bit….. In total Chabris published 16 studies in total.

In 2000 another dude called Hetland decided to conduct a further 36 visuospatial ability tests (you now know what that is yes?). How he arrived at the number 36, I do not know or either why he chose a selection of 2400 participants; the main advantage point to his studies, was that he actually included all the data, so published and unpublished data plus a whole load of other conditions such as wider variety of classical music, not just Mozart. This time he measured spatial temporal outcomes. So whats that? Well, its to do with A.I (artificial intelligence) and knowledge of the mind, coupled with spatial perception. So, as an example, if I am in Weston-super-Mare where I live, and you are wherever you live, are you nearer my front side or my backside (coin the phrase). The results were the following:
1. Evident for classical music as well as Mozarts music.
Larger for relaxtion instructions rather than silence.
Independent of gender.
Stronger in Rauscher’s lab than others.

As I said in my previous article, Mozarts minions were pretty keen to prove a correlation between increase in performance after listening to his music. This field has become a hot topic of conversation and debate, because mostly, if we can find a way of performing better at things, then that is to our advantage point. As a side, did you know that we all resonate the same frequency when listening to Mozart…. come on that is an interesting fact is it not?

So, in 2010 another figure of 38 studies and this time 3000 participants were selected by Pietschnig, Voracek and Formann to listen specifically to Mozart K448 – I am loading this for you to listen to – why not test it out and see for yourself what impact it has on performing certain tasks? https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=t9gT5bqi6Y.

In these test all 3 were included, that being non musical stimuli, silence and of course the Mozart. Here is the science bit “authors describe the mean effect size as small (d = 0.37), it was closer to levels typically considered to be moderate (d=0.5) rather than small (d-0.2) in magnitude” (Diane Deutsch – the psychology of music) Cohen 1988. This produced similar results to that of Hetland in 2000b. Now why was Rauscher’s tests results larger I wonder? Perhaps you could tell me? There were contrasts to Hetland and those were that there was very little difference between spatial temporal or visuospatial abilities.

So the hoorah moment for all you Mozart lovers or indeed classical music lovers out there: there is a positive effect on visuospatial and spatial-temporal abilities!!!! And this is quantifiable and incontestable, because these clever blokes called Chabris, Hetland and Pietschnig amongst others, conducted 3 meta analyses and came up with the same findings. Hoorah.

Not to burst your bubble or anything, but the effects remain a bit of mystery when tests are done in groups rather than individually. If you feel so inclined, perhaps you could run your own experiments…………

Next up the one you have been waiting for, how music effects your mood and quite possibly arousal………….

Oh hang on I think I forgot something. At the start, I mentioned golden section divisions. Well, once upon a time back before pythagorists and their theories…. golden sections was a “means of measuring a ratio between two portions of a line, or two dimensions of a plane figure, in which the lesser of the two is to be greater as the greater is to the sum of both: a ratio of approximately 0.618 to 1.000” – wikipedia. You see, when people say they do not understand why this stuff is taught in schools as it has no use, the truth is it really does, because, a lot of these formulas are building blocks to how concepts ideas, art, music, philosophy and science was created. So yes, it is important, as once you understand this, you understand the constructs. This is a big topic and warrants a separate blog really. But firstly onto mood………

Until next time.


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