388 research outputs found

    Earworms from three angles

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    Involuntary, spontaneous cognitions are common, everyday experiences that occur against a backdrop of deliberate goal-directed mentation (Christoff, Ream & Gabrieli, 2004). One such phenomenon may hold special promise for empirical investigatio n of this often elusive experience. Involuntary musical imagery (IN MI) or ‘earworms’ are vivid, identifiable, and affect 91.7% of the population at least once a week (Liikkanen, 2012). tilizing an online survey instrument (http://earwormery.com/) we collected several thousand reports of earworm episodes, in collaboration with the BBC. Study 1 employed a qualitative grounded theory analysis to explore themes relating to the situationalantecedents of INMI experiences (Williamson et al.,2011). The analysis revealed four main trigger themes for INMI experiences and categorized the role of ifferent music media. Study 2 used structural equation modeling (SEM) to relate individual differences in INMI characteristics and isolated an influence of obsess ive compulsive traits. Study 3 comprised a computational analysis of the musical structure of several hundred earworm tunes and compared them to matched control tunes. A statistical classification model was employed to predict whether a tune could be classified as an earworm based on its melodic features. The use of INMI as a model of spontaneous cognition has generated findings regarding the phenomenological experience as well as the role of different behavioural and cognitive contributing factors. This body of work demonstrates the feasibility of studying spontaneous cognitions through musical imagery, which has the potential to enhance our understanding of the intricate relationships between cognitive control, involuntary memory, and the environmen

    How does cognitive load affect the appearance of involuntary musical imagery (INMI)? Inducing earworms in the lab

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    Involuntary musical imagery (INMI, or earworms) is a term referring to the ubiquitous experience of a repetitive musical snippet coming to the mind unbidden and persisting in an uncontrolled manner. Studies to date provide contradictory reports regarding the role of concurrent cognitive load in this phenomenon: some support that INMI appears more during low cognitive load while others suggest the opposite. In the present study this question was addressed by gradually increasing the cognitive load. One hundred and sixty people watched two film trailers with popular soundtracks (one lyrical and one instrumental) and completed a “film appraisal questionnaire”. Next they engaged in one of four 5-minute tasks representing gradually increasing cognitive load. Finally they completed a “mind activity questionnaire” specifically designed for implicit INMI sampling. After 24 hours the same questionnaire was completed again online. INMI induction rate at baseline was 65% and decreased as cognitive load increased. The lyrical music was experienced more as INMI and there was a recency effect for the last song presented. In the 24-hour follow up study, 20.4% of people reported INMI. This new implicit, single blind paradigm has shed light on the effects of increasing cognitive load on INMI appearance and has provided us with important methodological insights for future INMI studies.Keywords: involuntary musical imagery, earworms, cognitive loa

    A causal involvement of the left supramarginal gyrus during the retention of musical pitches

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    Brain stimulation studies using transcranial direct current stimulation have shown that the processes involved in memorising pitch rely on activity within the left supramarginal gyrus (SMG). Building on this, the present study investigated which of the main phases of pitch memory processing may depend on the left SMG: retention or encoding. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) was used to modulate the retention stage of a pitch memory task in Experiment 1 and the encoding phase in Experiment 2. Participants completed a pitch memory recognition task in which they had to decide whether two six tone long sequences were the same or different. Using a blocked design 5Hz rTMS was applied for 3 seconds on a trial-by-trial basis over either the left SMG (targeted site) or the Vertex (control site) during the retention phase (Experiment 1) or during encoding of the first sequence (Experiment 2). A baseline block (without rTMS) was also completed. For Experiment 1, a repeated measures ANOVA with stimulation condition (rTMS over left SMG vs rTMS over Vertex vs no stimulation) as the within-subject factor and reaction times as the dependent variable revealed a main effect of stimulation condition. Contrasts showed that only rTMS over the left SMG during retention led to significantly increased reaction times. In Experiment 2 no modulation effects were found when applying rTMS during encoding. Taken together, these findings highlight a phase-specific involvement of the left SMG for the retention period of pitch memory only, thereby indicating that the left SMG is involved for the perpetual storage of pitch information

    A novel indirect method for capturing involuntary musical imagery under varying cognitive load

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    Involuntary musical imagery (INMI), i.e the internal experience of a repetitive musical fragment, is one of the most ubiquitous forms of spontaneous cognition. Findings regarding the relationship between INMI and cognitive load are conflicting. In the present study, 200 participants watched and evaluated two non-dialogue, music only film trailers. Subsequently, they either closed their eyes for 5 min (baseline), or engaged in one of three dot tasks of varying challenge and attentional demand (low, medium, and high cognitive load). Finally, they completed a novel “Mind Activity Questionnaire”, which allows for indirect INMI sampling rather than direct questioning. The same questionnaire was completed 24 hours later. Overall, a significant negative linear trend was found. At baseline, 65% of people reported experiencing INMI. This rate decreased to 32.5% in the low load condition with further reductions observed in the medium and high conditions, which did not differ significantly from each other. INMI frequency and duration followed the same pattern as the induction rates. In the 24-hour follow-up, 21% of participants reported INMI experiences. This study supports the hypothesis that INMI occurrence, frequency, and duration relate to spare cognitive capacity and demonstrates an ecologically valid laboratory paradigm for covertly inducing and documenting INMI experiences

    The music that helps people sleep and the reasons they believe it works: A mixed methods analysis of online survey reports

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    Sleep loss is a widespread problem with serious physical and economic consequences. Music can impact upon physical, psychological and emotional states, which may explain anecdotal reports of its success as an everyday sleep aid. However, there is a lack of systematic data on how widely it is used, why people opt for music as a sleep aid, or what music works; hence the underlying drivers to music-sleep effects remain unclear. We investigated music as a sleep aid within the general public via a mixed methods data online survey (n = 651) that scored musicality, sleep habits, and open text responses on what music helps sleep and why. In total, 62% of respondents stated that they used music to help them sleep. They reported fourteen musical genres comprising 545 artists. Linear modelling found stress, age, and music use as significant predictors of sleep quality (PSQI) scores. Regression tree modelling revealed that younger people with higher musical engagement were significantly more likely to use music to aid sleep. Thematic analysis of the open text responses generated four themes that described why people believe music helps sleep: music offers unique properties that stimulate sleep (Provide), music is part of a normal sleep routine (Habit), music induces a physical or mental state conducive to sleep (State), and music blocks an internal or external stimulus that would otherwise disrupt sleep (Distract). This survey provides new evidence into the relationship between music and sleep in a population that ranged widely in age, musicality, sleep habits and stress levels. In particular, the results highlight the varied pathways of effect between music and sleep. Diversity was observed both in music choices, which reflected idiosyncratic preferences rather than any consistent musical structure, and in the reasons why music supports good sleep, which went far beyond simple physical/mental relaxation

    The same but different. Multidimensional assessment of depression in students of natural science and music

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    Depression is one of the most common and debilitating health problems, however, its heterogeneity makes a diagnosis challenging. Thus far the restriction of depression variables explored within groups, the lack of comparability between groups, and the heterogeneity of depression as a concept limit a meaningful interpretation, especially in terms of predictability. Research established students in late adolescence to be particularly vulnerable, especially those with a natural science or musical study main subject. This study used a predictive design, observing the change in variables between groups as well as predicting which combinations of variables would likely determine depression prevalence. 102 under- and postgraduate students from various higher education institutions participated in an online survey. Students were allocated into three groups according to their main study subject and type of institution: natural science students, music college students and a mix of music and natural science students at university with comparable levels of musical training and professional musical identity. Natural science students showed significantly higher levels of anxiety prevalence and pain catastrophizing prevalence, while music college students showed significantly higher depression prevalence compared to the other groups. A hierarchical regression and a tree analysis found that depression for all groups was best predicted with a combination of variables: high anxiety prevalence and low burnout of students with academic staff. The use of a larger pool of depression variables and the comparison of at-risk groups provide insight into how these groups experience depression and thus allow initial steps towards personalized support structures

    The relationship between musicianship and pain. Is chronic pain and its management a problem for student musicians only?

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    IntroductionThe neuro-biological side of chronic pain research has presented reliable evidence of distinct cortical and spinal alteration compared to healthy individuals. Furthermore, research suggests that musicians are especially vulnerable to pain, and recent neurological investigations into musicians' brain plasticity support this hypothesis. However, chronic pain is not acute pain plus time, but a separate condition, and little is known about musicians' chronic pain-related emotions and behaviors. This knowledge, however, is a crucial step in understanding how chronic pain is processed by musicians.MethodsThis study investigated pain catastrophizing as a critical pain-related behavior and emotional concept alongside six complementary variables: anxiety, depression, depersonalisation, burnout, coping strategies and professional identity.Results103 under- and postgraduate students from various higher education institutions participated in an online survey. Students were allocated into three groups according to their main study subject and type of institution: music college musicians, university musicians and university non-musicians. A tree model confirmed the current chronic pain multifactorial model, suggesting a combination of several variables before catastrophizing pain. Group testing, however, showed that university non-musicians' pain catastrophizing was significantly worse especially when compared to music college musicians. Music college musicians and university musicians were less prone to maladaptive pain processes, despite perceiving pain for significantly longer.DiscussionThis novel finding indicates that chronic pain does not inevitably lead to dysfunctional pain processing for musicians and should be reflected accordingly to optimize pain-control. The biopsychosocio model of chronic pain provides a robust framework for future research in this population

    Evaluation of Restaurant Menus to Determine the Availability of Healthy Food Options and Guide Community Transformation Grant Activities in Massachusetts

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    INTRODUCTION. The availability of healthy menu options in restaurants is an important factor in the prevention of obesity. The Mass in Motion Initiative and two Community Transformation Grant (CTG) projects are conducting statewide longitudinal surveys to determine the availability of healthy food in restaurants in the state of Massachusetts. METHODS. The Community Nutrition Environment Evaluation Data System-Restaurant (C-NEEDS-R) was developed for food environment surveillance. C-NEEDS-R takes into account seasonal and geographic variations in food supplies, cultural relevance, and USDA dietary recommendations. Between summer 2012 and winter 2013, 506 restaurants in 36 Massachusetts towns and cities were surveyed and analyzed. Through menu and site evaluation, the availability of healthy entrees was examined for each restaurant, and the total number of healthy entrees as well as the percent of healthy entrees was calculated for each restaurant. For each municipality, the average number and average percentage of healthy entrees for restaurants within the community was also calculated. RESULTS. The surveyed restaurants had average 3.2 healthy entrees on the menu, accounting for 13.4% of the total number of entrees available. The percentage of healthy options varied widely by restaurant and restaurant type, ranging from 0 to 84%, and only 15 of the 506 surveyed restaurants ( DISCUSSION. As noted, menu evaluation demonstrated that the large majority of the surveyed restaurants had few healthy entrees, indicating a need to increase availability of healthy options. Analysis of restaurant- and community-level variations in availability is useful for CTG programs to formulate and prioritize interventions. Future longitudinal surveys of food stores in the intervention and control communities will help evaluate the effectiveness of CTG interventions

    The impact of music on learning and consolidation of novel words

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    Music can be a powerful mnemonic device, as shown by a body of literature demonstrating that listening to text sung to a familiar melody results in better memory for the words compared to conditions where they are spoken. Furthermore, patients with a range of memory impairments appear to be able to form new declarative memories when they are encoded in the form of lyrics in a song, while unable to remember similar materials after hearing them in the spoken modality. Whether music facilitates the acquisition of completely new information, such as new vocabulary, remains unknown. Here we report three experiments in which adult participants learned novel words in the spoken or sung modality. While we found no benefit of musical presentation on free recall or recognition memory of novel words, novel words learned in the sung modality were more strongly integrated in the mental lexicon compared to words learned in the spoken modality. This advantage for the sung words was only present when the training melody was familiar. The impact of musical presentation on learning therefore appears to extend beyond episodic memory and can be reflected in the emergence and properties of new lexical representations

    Health on the Move (HOME) Study: Using a smartphone app to explore the health and wellbeing of migrants in the United Kingdom.

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    Background/Aim: We have a limited understanding of the broader determinants of health of international migrants and how these change over time since migration to the United Kingdom (UK). To address this knowledge gap, we aim to conduct a prospective cohort study with data acquisition via a smartphone application (app). In this pilot study, we aim to 1) determine the feasibility of the use of an app for data collection in international migrants, 2) optimise app engagement by quantifying the impact of specific design features on the completion rates of survey questionnaires and on study retention, 3) gather preliminary profile health status data, to begin to examine how risk factors for health are distributed among migrants. Methods: We will recruit 275 participants through a social media campaign and through third sector organisations that work with or support migrants in the UK. Following consent and registration, data will be collected via surveys. To optimise app engagement and study retention, we will quantify the impact of specific design features (i.e. the frequency of survey requests, the time of day for app notifications, the frequency of notifications, and the wording of notifications) via micro-randomised process evaluations. The primary outcome for this study is survey completion rates with numerator as the number of surveys completed and denominator as the total number of available surveys. Secondary outcomes are study retention rates and ratings of interest after app usage. Ethics and dissemination: We have obtained approval to use consented patient identifiable data from the University College London Ethics Committee. Improving engagement with the app and gathering preliminary health profile data will help us identify accessibility and usability issues and other barriers to app and study engagement prior to moving to a larger study
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