Part VI: Natural potential
Music can be used as a tool by naturopaths because it apparently has a cumulative effect. Encouraging young patients to cultivate a love of intricate music has the potential to prime them for self actualization. The implication for those seeking to increase their IQ is evident. However, on a much more general every day level, music may be explored to help with mood and arousal, and to help balance depression and anxiety. Abraham Maslow defined the parameters needed to reach the ultimate in an individuals personality. Reasoning through the humanist perspective, all individuals have a positive push of inner-directedness that if unimpeded will move us towards our fullest potential and growth. Music can be a powerful guide in our journey for this self actualization. It can aide in this by giving us the tools to perform at our very best in several cognitive tasks, including spatial reasoning. There is also potential to rebuild the right hemisphere of the brain after the effects of trauma.

Conclusion
Unfortunately, research is severely lacking in research of varying forms of music. It is clear however, that music primes the brain to work harder, work better, increase capacity, regulate mood and arousal, and to perform spatial reasoning and other cognitive tasks. Repetition is key, the more you make use of this phenomenon the more you will get out of it. The earlier in life you begin to utilize this phenomenon the longer it will last and the more you will get out of it. Because the style of Mozart and his contemporaries in a up-tempo, major mode is ideal for performance, it is beneficial to cultivate a love for this style as early in life as possible. However, if that is not the case, more familiar and enjoyable forms of music will have similar or better results as listening to classical music of the like. Learning to play, read, and compose music will further increase your brain’s capacity to perform tasks, and memorize. Though hyper-focusing may have the potential to suppress some of your innate creativity and spatial reasoning abilities. However overall, the costs don’t outweigh the gains, as you will be more likely to be proficient in both hemispheres of the brain, just  not equally. Women and men may not differ nearly as much as would be expected in perceiving emotion in music. Though women did show a significant advancement over men in certain cognitive functions, spatial reasoning was not one of them. Spatial reasoning abilities among men and women are fairly consistent between the sexes when listening to classical music in both a major or minor mode, but music in the major mode (cheerful) has a more positive effect on cognitive tasks. Cultivating a love of music and thinking about it in both a right brain intuitive mode, and a left brain logical mode will help the individual reach their fullest potential.

Referances

Rauscher, F. H., Shaw, G. L., & Ky, K.N. (1995). Listening to Mozart enhances spatial-temporal reasoning: Towards a neurophsiological basis. Neuroscience Letters, 44-47.

Schellenberg, E. Glen. (2005). Music and Cognitive Abilities. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14 (6), 317-320.

Brandler, S. & Rammsayer, T.H. (2003). Differences in mental abilities between musicians and non-musicians. Psychology of Music, 31(2), 123-138.

Rauscher, F. H., Shaw, G. L., & Ky, K.N. (1993). Music and spatial task performance. Nature, 365.

Sutton, C. J. C. & Lowis, M. J. (2008). The Effect of Musical Mode on Verbal and Spatial Task Performance. Creativity Research Journal, 20 (4), 420-426.

Campbell, D. (2001, 1997). The Mozart Effect. New York: Quill HaperCollins Publishers.

Leeds, J. (2001). The Power of Sound. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press.

Jausovec, N., & Habe, K. (2005). The influence of Mozart’s sonata K. 488 on brain activity during performance of spatial rotation and numerical tasks. Brain Topology, 17, 207–218.

Pert, C. (2000). Your Body is Your Subconscious Mind [CD]. Louisville, Colorado: Sounds True, Inc.

Part II: Effects on the brain
Music’s uncanny influence on spatial reasoning was one of the key correlations that began the work to develop an understanding of music’s effect on the brain. Spatial reasoning functions are located in the right hemisphere of the brain. Spatial reasoning is a function processed and elicited in the right hemisphere of the brain. The right brain is categorized by emotion, id-based thinking, feeling, intuition, impetuousness, and creativity. This hemisphere is often marginalized in Western culture and relegated to dreams in most individuals. The left hemisphere is categorized by logic, reality, mathematics, language, and strategy. Music is also attributed to right brain functions because it stimulates the functions of the right brain more than the left brain.

Music can place the brain in an optimal arousal mode (Schellenberg, 2005). Music can effect emotion (Sutton and Lowis, 2008). This happens on a psychological and physiological level. Much in the same way some narcotics mimic the neuronal patterns of some neurotransmitters such as epinephrine and endorphins, to mimic their pleasurable sensations (Pert, 2000), music effects spatial reasoning by mimicking the same firing pathways neurons undergo when we successfully concentrate and focus (Campbell, 2001, 1997). This is why increased concentrating and focus occurs in close proximity of listening for adults. The younger the individual, the longer the effect last because their brains are at the start of creating familiar firing pathways. In addition, their cells divide more often creating the potential to create more daughter cells with receptors primed to perpetuate the pathway. Explained in part by the idea of association and the Hebbian theory of synaptic activity and efficiency which is often summarized as “the cells that fire together, wire together”. Sutton and Lowis suggest that music is a communicator that is adept at communicating emotion. In a 2005 experiment conducted by E. Glenn Schellenberg he found that music effects spatial reasoning in part by arousing the mind of the participant. By putting the brain in an optimal state of arousal, this attributed to increased performance. He also attributed increased performance in spatial reasoning to changes in mood directly linked to the major (cheerful sounding), up tempo Mozart selections. Therefore, arousal primes the brain to do more work, and music works as a exercise to strengthen the brain.

References available in Part VI

Part I: In the beginning
Music is a part of every culture, and yet it is often taken for granted as it is so ingrained in daily life. Music is one of the broadest elements in our world. New genres seem to sprout every day. It is always developing and evolving, ebbing and flowing. There is little doubt as to why it is listed as one of the seven intellectual fields enumerated by Howard Gardner. Scientist and researchers give a thorough explanation of music’s link to cognition and spatial reasoning. These works can give anyone a basic working knowledge of how music effects spatial reasoning, and how it may be used for self improvement. Exploring music’s effects on spatial reasoning may help unlock a valuable tool for health and healing.

Professor of Education at Harvard University, Howard Gardner listed music and spatial reasoning as two of seven types of intelligence in the 1980s. Spatial reasoning is called various things including spacial intellect and spatial-temporal reasoning, among others. Though differing phrases may attempt to evoke a particular tone, spatial reasoning is at the core of each understanding. Spatial reasoning is involved in manipulating 2-D images into 3-D images with your mind’s eye. This may involve physical navigation, mental imagery, hand eye coordination, and spatial relationships. This skill is used by all. However, it is particularly important to engineers, architects, and computer game programmers. From playing video games to planning out how to arrange furniture in an empty room (topography), spatial reasoning is the core component. The degree of an individual’s spatial reasoning capacity can be tested for via an IQ test, as it is a component of intelligence. On IQ tests, spatial reasoning is often tested by the individual attempting to recreate a particular sequence of colored blocks. Some IQ test utilized by the following studies include the Stadford-Binet Intelligence Scale, the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-III ( WISC-III), the Wechsler Adult Intelligences Scale-III (WAIS-III), and the Cattell’s Culture Free Intelligence Test, Scale 3 (CFT). I have reviewed six articles that explore the relationship between music and spatial reasoning.

What’s the phenomenon?
It has been found that music, to varying degrees, positively or negatively prime the cells in the brain to perform spatial reasoning tasks (Jausavec and Habe, 2005). An experiment conducted by Rauscher, Shaw and Ky with undergraduate students in the mid 1990s showed that their IQ scores (Stanford-Binet) rose by 8 to 9 points after listening to music composed by Mozart. It was also found that this effect lasted only temporarily, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. This phenomenon was dubbed “The Mozart Effect” (Rauscher et al., 1995). Sutton and Lowis (2008) note that “Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky reported a short-term enhancement in spatial-temporal reasoning following listening to Mozart music”. Rauscher conducted an additional experiment in 1998 where he found that certain music increases test subjects’ performance, concentration, focus, and spatial reasoning tasks. These results were elicited through a testing format. Rauscher concentrated on the effects of classical music. Don Campbell, author of “The Mozart Effect” credits the music of Mozart and his contemporaries with the ability to “stimulate learning and memory” and “strengthen concentration abilities”. Sutton and Lowis found that the phenomenon works without the listener focusing on the music. The emotions elicited by the music act on a subconscious level. The music was not a focal point but rather background music predominately relegated to the preconscious. Furthermore, none of the participants expressed a conscious awareness of the music during their debriefing sessions with the researchers.

Further research (Schellenberg, 2005) has found that music improves social skills, mood, and other cognitive functions in addition to spatial reasoning. This phenomenon is significant and unique because though music is the method, the benefits and improvements extend to non-music related abilities, the results are consistent, and they are most likely to occur by listening or playing music than by other activities. Schellenberg broadened the research substantiated by Rauscher (1993) by noting spatial reasoning and other cognitive ability links to music other than classical. He found that music that is familiar, or enjoyable to the individual often has even greater potential to strengthen these cognitive tasks, with spatial reasoning being at the forefront. To broaden the term, Schellenberg renamed this phenomenon the “arousal-and-mood hypothesis”, thus indicating the link between the benefits and the emotional state of the individual. Schellenberg also noted that the emotional state of the individual primes cognitive functions to enhance in ability. Thus, listening to music has the capacity to effect the brain, emotions, and mind set.

References available in Part VI

“Synecdoche, New York” is an intriguing, thought-provoking drama about_______________________________________. (fill in the blank)

I’m formulating my ideas and processing my feelings about this work, and have chosen to do so before I research any reviews or analysis so that I can keep my thoughts as pure as possible. But artist and cultural activist Erykah Badu’s lyrics come to mind, “What good do your words do, if they can’t understand you?” Can art be too abstract for its own good?

This film reminded me of a well thought out play. It’s no secret that plays are generally thought to have more depth than movies. I believe this is because (among many things*) the generally short time span plays encompass as opposed to films, and therefore the audience in invited to experience the entire world of the piece infinitely more than with cinema. However, this film spans nearly 2 decades (I think). I still felt like I was watching Angles in America by Tony Kushner or perhaps In the Blood by Suzan-Lori Parks. That delightful heavy feeling you experience with a show like that, was felt while watching this film. I was so impressed.

Generally, plays tend to lean towards the abstract more than films. Synecdoche, New York was definitely abstract. In this work we follow a theatre director named Caden though several romantic and familial relationships as he attempts to understand himself, a goal he never achieves (or perhaps only slightly achieves by having his life completely manipulated by a theatre director playing himself). He is awarded a MacArthur Fellowship (“Genius Award”) and plans to create a huge production to tout his skills. He sets his pseudo-performance art style play in a warehouse and has a cast as large as the community of people he surrounds himself with. Let’s just say its a MASSIVE production. The play is never fully mounted (I think).

It’s not an easy film to describe. I recommend everyone see this thought-provoking film. What did I take away? A reinforced idea that life is obscure, and the relationships within are based on an innumerable amount of absurd details.  That happen to be fascinating because of what they may suggest about one another. (Why where the psychiatrist’s shoes so damaging to her feet and why did she ignore it? Why was Hazel’s house always on fire?) I also remember that life is not about the individual. Keeping this in mind should put ego, paranoia, anxiety, and selfishness in perspective.

It seemed that Caden (was he ever really sick? and was there anything significant about Olive’s green poop at the film’s start?) was unable to overcome the stress with directing his own life, though he was astute in directing actors. Eventually, an actor, playing Caden as a theatre director had to direct him in his everyday life until his death. Or had he become just another actor in the play?

This film will leave you with plenty of questions.

Footnote:
* films make more money and have the luxury of being as trivial as they want because they have a larger audience

A full length version (though unrendered) of the unreleased movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine was leaked on the internet.

Ethics-noun [in sing. ]
a set of moral principles, esp. ones relating to or affirming a specified group, field, or form of conduct

Let’s talk about nethics- (a new word as far as I know- I like making words lol). ethics using the medium of the internet.

I only found out around this past January that you can watch (without downloading, but streaming video)full length feature films online (I can hear the youth laughing cuz I’m way behind the times). I told my 60 something yr old mother, and she didn’t believe me. ‘How could you possibly in any way be able to watch feature films online, soon after their their releases (let alone before!) for free?’ Mai  own mother didn’t believe me, until I showed her.

Most online movies are usually ‘bootleg’ copies, where someone paid to see the movie at the theatre, videotaped it and put it on the Net. But honestly, I still don’t know how an unreleased movie like Wolverine could be leaked UNLESS by someone working on the film. However, before the net, you could BUY bootleg copies from street vendors, but now they just put it on the net for no profit? That’s kinda weird. A sort of recession time, entertainment- Robin Hooding? You decide…

It’s theft. It’s wrong. But its a de facto practice by many.

Pro
Movies require millions of dollars, and make millions of dollars, movie stars and celebrities make exorbitant amounts of money performing (often producing great works of art) essentially a needless service.

When I was about 8 or 9yrs old, I was angered, confused, and saddened to the point of tears when I understood the wage differences between athletes (celebrities) and teachers. I didn’t understand how such an important job (teaching), was so less monetarily valued. Now of course I understand the industry of art and the industry of education…

We are in a recession, and it’s survival of the fittest, would Darwin watch movies for free online??? I’m not sure, but I believe many who watch movies online wouldn’t wouldn’t bother to watch them at all if they weren’t online.

Con
Bootlegged films will make less money. The stars will be the last to suffer.
Sure the studios loose money, but in the most direct of ways the movie theatres will be hurt. Their janitors, popcorn vendors, ticket sellers, the average working people. Not to mention the people who work tirelessly at places like BlockBuster.

With this in mind, are they still worth watching in this manner?

Blargue: Slanguage 103

January 22, 2009

BLARGUE- (blahr-ghyoo) to argue via text especially in a web log (blog) format.

This freewrite blog is an excuse for me to enter a new word into your vocabulary (blogcabulary?-ok maybe that’s pushing it). I devised the two hybrid words: blargue & slanguage. Let’s talk about them…

Though it should never be encouraged, I don’t think there is any way around blarguing except ignoring the offending blarguments altogether. This is because too many misunderstandings occur. I’ve noticed this for years. First over AIM, then emails, now text messages, and blogs.

Blarguing goes a bit deeper than just arguing via text. While misunderstandings and miscommunications occur via voice in person, over the phone, etc. it doesn’t happen with the same frequency as via text. This is because of the inability to detect tone of voice and therefore tone of message. We try to compensate for this by using emoticons 🙂 smily 😦 frowny 😉 winky and many many more, but even those never quite fully transcend the obstacles and hardships of the blargument.

Avoiding the blargument is made more difficult by those with the intention to incite blarguments. Sometimes people warp what they really believe just to play devil’s advocate. I’ve never been a fan of this method, but I’ve seen other mature, responsible people employ this method with wisdom to much benefit. Advocating the devil can bring about thoughtful discussions. Of course, most of the time those playing devil’s advocate go down that dark unwholesome path.

Is there significant difference between the terms “argue” and “blargue”?  Do you think “blargue” is a valuable word?  Will you adopt this term into your vocabulary? What do you do to mitigate blarguments?

I love language and that it develops every day. I enjoy examining culture, vernacular, colloquialisms, and slang. I sign (ASL), speak French, English, and have been working on Spanish. I began learning foreign languages at 7, took a 5 year hiatus, and resumed at 12. I only wish I had been introduced to foreign language at a younger age.

Slanguage 102: Slang On!!

January 22, 2009

SLANGUAGE: (slang-ooage) communication mainly comprised of colloquialisms and street or informal stripped down speech; decomposition

This freewrite blog is an excuse for me to enter a new word into your vocabulary (blogcabulary?-ok maybe that’s pushing it). I devised the two hybrid words: blargue & slanguage. Let’s talk about them…

Slanguage is a word I’ve used here many times before. It is useful in communicating a style of communication. There are times when people use slanguage to communicate and it may be mistaken for poor speech and grammar. This is a BIG MISTAKE. Nearly all my friends are college educated, professional people who engage the use of slanguage on a daily basis.

Slanguage is often more useful and valuable than conventional language because it helps to convey and denote geography, attitude, culture, and swagger or self image. I warn, DO NOT SQUELCH others from using this form of expression. I also encourage all people to further develop their own personalized slanguage. This will help define a people and give diversity to all.

Slanguage often reminds me of my hearing impaired friends. Often times, families with hearing impaired ones develop shorthand signs. This is done to communicate quicker, be more to the point, and to individualize their language. One of my friends calls this “home SL” or home sign language. For example she may shorten or abbreviate the movements for “restroom”, “grandfather”, or any number of words. If she were to sign with her interpreter or other hearing impaired people they may not readily understand what she was signing, but her mother or siblings do. Therefore, she of course would use the more traditional signs with anyone not at home.

Develop the slanguage of your home, your family, your friends, your community, and your hood. Slang on!

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GAME

I would be remiss if I didn’t note that there is a time and place to use all manners of speech. Though I would discourage others to squelch the use of slanguage, there are obviously times when it would be inappropriate. Such as speaking to elders, (some) authority figures, work place, interviews, etc. I advocate the development of slang language but not all slang words/terms.

Is there significant difference between the terms “language” and “slanguage”? Do you think this is a valuable word? Will you adopt this term into your vocabulary? What terms have you developed?

I love language and that it develops every day. I enjoy examining culture, vernacular, colloquialisms, and slang. I sign (ASL), speak French, English, and have been working on Spanish. I began learning foreign languages at 7, took a 5 year hiatus, and resumed at 12. I only wish I had been introduced to foreign language at a younger age.