Music Tonality and Mindfulness

Casey, Joseph R. R. (2016) Music Tonality and Mindfulness. [Abstract]

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The integration of instruments designed to measure aspects of ones physical well-being have nuzzled their way into the daily lives of many individuals. Devices, such as Fitbits and smart watches, effectively monitor the amount of physical activity one endures throughout the day; this allows he or she to gage their productivity in accord to the fitness goals the individual sets for his or her self—thus, facilitating a desired awareness of physical well-being and promoting healthier lifestyles. However, when the concern is shifted from purely physical aspects of daily life to aspects of cognitive and emotional well-being, there are currently no available metrics that congeal with the demands and common routines affiliated with modernity. The language surrounding cognitive and emotional well-being often colloquial and conveys abstract concepts—engendering arbitrary measurements. When one speaks of a feeling, he or she is speaking of an experience that has been processed through the Limbic region of the brain; the reason persons often find it difficult to express their feelings is because the Limbic region of the brain does not have the capacity to form language. Because of this disconnect between how people process their emotions and how they manifest into thought, individuals often fail to resolve such issues as they misattribute the cause of his or her emotional discomforts to entities that conveniently invite blame—the weather, traffic, relationships, etc. The purpose of the current study is to explore the efficacy of an alternative method of mindfulness practice, which incorporates a specific faculty of daily life that has transcended the barriers of modernity. The proposed method analyzes music to which persons, on an individual basis, have a strong, positive emotional reaction. By investigating the relationship between the keynote and tempo of the individual’s (N=61) song choice to data collected from a 25 item, self-report, emotional well-being inventory. I intend to highlight specific song traits as they relate to specific emotional needs. Under the assumption that an individual’s song choice facilitates an emotional longing, I hypothesize that the keynote of each music sample will correlate to a specific set of emotional needs not met. The tempo, I hypothesize, will indicate the participants’ needs for increased stimulation (higher tempo) or decreased stimulation (slower tempo): tempo is measured in beats per minute (BPM). Using a convenience sample of Fort Lewis College students, the results indicate a moderately positive relationship between keynote choice and their affiliated emotions according to previous literature—though more participants will be needed in order to increase the external validity of these findings. There was no clear relationship identified between tempo and a need for stimuli modification. However, this may be due to an instrumental error, which confounded the internal validity of the tempo analysis. Altercations will be necessary as this research continues.

Item Type: Abstract
Created by Student or Faculty: Student
Uncontrolled Keywords: Music Cognition, Abstract
Subjects: Undergrad Research Symposium
Undergrad Research Symposium > Psychology
Depositing User: Joseph Casey
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2016 17:15
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2016 17:15

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