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.

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.


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 III: Style
Music’s benefits are vast. It can adapt mood, adapt positive thinking, strengthen survival skills, and sympathy (Leeds, 2003). These are among the improvements that music can make on peoples lives. All music genres have significant implications for the mind. Dr. Alfred Tomatis’ research on the workings of the inner ear were undoubtedly the precursor for the focus on Mozart’s music and spatial reasoning. Tomatis focused on Mozart’s music namely the violin concertos numbers 3 and 4 as having the strongest ability to positively effect students capacity to focus and concentrate. Music can have a positive or negative effect on spatial performance tasks. Sutton and Lowis found that when music is sad (often minor in composition) it can make the listener sad, and depressed people show impairment in spatial tasks because depression effects the arousal in the right cerebral hemisphere of the brain which is associated with cognitive spatial processing. Overall, the Sutton-Lowis study showed that cheerful music enhances spatial reasoning more than sad music, and that this is because music elicits and emotional response. They also found that the degree to which and emotional response is elicited is similar in both men and women.

In a 1995 experiment done by Rausher, Shaw, and Ky, their work suggested that listening to a piano sonata composed by Mozart lead to increased spatial reasoning performance. They also found that listening to repetitive music does not aide in spatial reasoning. These findings are in correlation with Shaw’s statements, “We suspect that complex music facilitates certain complex neuronal patterns involved in high brain activities like math and chess. By contrast, simple and repetitive music could have the opposite effect.” Shaw suggests a possibility that banal music or sounds may have and adverse effect on the mind and brain functions. Just as highly intricate music containing complicated melodies and rhythms have a positive effect on he mind’s ability to reason spatially, simple, repetitive, monotonous music may have the opposite effect on the mind’s ability to reason spatially. The latter may actually regress the mind’s ability, if even for short periods of time.

Age Matters

It is found that the impact music has on spatial reasoning only last from 10 to 15 minutes in adults. This is a temporary effect. However, it can have cumulative effects concurrently. Therefore, the more you make use of this phenomenon the more readily and quicker it will manifest. It is also of note, that the younger the individual is when in a musical environment, the longer the effect has been shown to last (Schellenberg, 2005). It is apparent that music has a cumulative effect because the younger the person is when introduced to music the longer potential they have to hold on to the benefits of this phenomenon. Schellenberg noted that the phenomenon looses its longevity the later in life it begins to be implemented. He also said that the more it is used (even later in life) the greater its magnitude for positive results. Though listening is sufficient to prime the brain for a boost in spatial tasks performance, learning to play the music is significant in perpetuating longer lasting effects (Schellenberg, 2005). In a correlative test of 147 children and 150 undergraduate adults, (using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-III, or WISC-III and the Wechsler Adult Intelligences Scale-III, or WAIS-III respectively) Schellenberg concluded that the effects of music on cognitive abilities are greater with more exposure to music regularly and can be long lasting.

To musician or to non-musician
Though differences in certain cognitive functions between musicians and non-musicians exist, the differences between the two in terms of spatial reasoning did not favor the musicians according to Brandler and Rammsayer (2003). Researchers were surprised to find this to be the case, but hold their finding as reliable as these results were consistently shown by four Cattell’s Culture Free Intelligence Test, Scale 3 (CFT) subscales. In explanation, that they warn is “a preliminary, highly speculative, possible explanation “, they suggest that perhaps our thinking of relegating music to the right hemisphere (because music stimulates the right brain more than the left brain) of the brain should be revised. It is certain that highly skilled musicians utilize both the right and left brains to carry out their musical lifestyles. However, the memory aspect of their mind may dominate over the reason part. This is indicative of a diverse array of mental abilities in musicians and contrasted by a stronger yet more base mental ability in non-musicians. Therefore, “early extensive musical training” results in a change to the cortical organization. This augments the left brain functions of the musician, while diminishing the innate musical abilities of the right brain.  This is reminiscent of how in Western education, schooling may lead to strengthening the left brain while neglecting the right brain.

Sounds of Sex
Though there were differences between certain cognitive functions between men and women, the differences in spatial reasoning between the two groups was not significant in the Sutton-Lowis experiment. Sutton and Lowis are interested in determining the differences between sexes when they listen to music on both their verbal and spatial reasoning skills. Overall, they tout that music has an ability to increase spatial and verbal reasoning, and their data supports this claim. However, the most significant correlation was found between women and verbal reasoning. Though the other sectors had over all improvement, their amount of improvement were nominal in comparison to the increase found with women in verbal reasoning. Their study is particularly noteworthy because there is a severe lack of research on the differences of how the sexes are effected by music. Sutton and Lowis found that the degree to which an emotional response is elicited is similar in both men and women.

References available in Part VI

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

Juneteenth, June 19th, is one of my favorite occasions. I look forward to it every year. I keep thinking, maybe next year, Google or Yahoo! will have a special design for their logo to spotlight Juneteenth… One day…

For anyone oblivious to the occasion, it marks the most recognized end to slavery. The story goes thus:

The Emancipation Proclamation (Lincoln) was a law abolishing slavery and freeing ALL slaves in ALL of the United States. It was issued on September 22, 1862, and was supposed to be effective as of January 1, 1863. However, that news (and enforcement) didn’t quite make it to the poor slaves in Galveston, Texas (and other Eastern Texan localities) until June 19, 1865. Yeah… a whole flippin’ 2 and a half years after the law was active. (Those law-breaking, self-righteous, Eastern Texan slave-holders really burn me up!!!) On that day, as the story goes, Union General Granger and troops arrived in Galveston not only to enforce the emancipation of the slaves (I bet they didn’t get 2.5 years of back pay… I know!!… efforts should be dedicated to getting their back pay to their ancestors!! I think there’s a word for that…..) but to also take over possession of Texas. Juneteenth started being celebrated in Galveston the VERY NEXT YEAR. Strawberry pop anyone…….?

It’s interesting that recently the Senate apologized for the first time to United State’s African-American descendants for the atrocities of slavery. (They really need to apologize to Africa for the atrocities of the American Slave trade… what? You think pilfering millions of Africa’s strongest men and women didn’t adversely effect their lives for centuries?) Among the apologizers where Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa and Sen. Brownback of Kansas.

Oh well, it just a twisted ritual of America. The apology means little to me (it does little except assuage some people’s guilt, and give others ammunition to rationalize deplorable points of view), but I know it means something to some people, and for that, I smile at it.

!!!!!!!!!!HAPPY JUNETEENTH 2009!!!!!!!!!

Men and women ARE different, and how we interact with the opposite sex is significant, and depicted about how we view our roles in society. I just had an interesting conversation with two 20-something women* about male/female dynamics in budding relationships. Laney’s been married one year, Mona’s been dating a guy for one month, and me, married for 5 years.

Mona is anxious to know if her relationship has reached exclusive boyfriend/girlfriend status, but isn’t sure about how to find out. She’s considering having a friend ask the guy, in a round-a-bout way. Laney advises to ‘hold off’ and let the guy take the initiative in that respect. Laney finds it best to wait for men to say ‘I love you’ first because ‘men like to do things like that’. She believes woman can be assertive without being dominant, and that not letting the man take the initiative is usurping his dominance. She says women can be assertive by ‘getting what they want’ without having to have a discussion. She has a girlfriend who’s been wanting to say she loves her guy since a few months into their relationship, but has been waiting for 3 years for him to say it first, and therefore doesn’t quite know where their relationship stands. I say, if you are in a relationship (where you desire longevity), ask questions flat out, clearly, and as they arise. I don’t see a place for poor communication and inhibition in a healthy adult relationship. I see finding a back-door way of talking about things with your partner so that he feels more like the ‘direction-setter’ as a form of playing games that everyone should avoid. I am a big believer and appreciator of feminine wiles, but I like to ‘get what I want’ by talking it out.

I’m sure part of my POV comes from my distaste for men who shy away from assertive women. Is being ‘too domineering’ a concern that women in fledgling relationships ?All men are different, as are situations and relationships. Most would agree that there are times when the woman should say ‘I love you’ first and such. But the true question is: Is there ANY circumstance where a woman who questions the status of her relationship should wait for the man to establish it before asking questions? Is she gonna ‘run off’ the potential love of her life? Should you ever stay silent from your partner when you have questions? Should you play ‘harmless’ covert games to find out what you need to know?

I feel like NOT asking questions as they arise is putting your life on hold. If he wants to be exclusive and so do you, fine; but if he doesn’t, and you don’t find out, then you are going to turn down other dating opportunities. How’s that fair?

*Names have been changed to protect Mai



Hood Doctors:


“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.

* 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.

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.

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!


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.


January 15, 2009


I’m usually fascinated by the new slang my younger family members teach me. Language has always been fascinating to me. I been speaking French since I was 12 and I’ve been speaking Spanish for about 2 yrs now. I also try to learn how to say “Where is the bathroom” in as many languages as I possibly can. I love watching the American Language grow (yes, I realize we speak English not American, I’m one of those people who cringe when i hear people say that they don’t or do want to learn how to speak Mexican, come on!). I say the American Language because currently I’m not following the progression/metamorphosis of other English speaking nations. Perhaps i should say United States Language… but i digress, and I’m sure y’all get what I’m trying to say.
I’ve recently heard things like “goon” which i think may have come from Lil Wayne (A Milli- “ok so you’re a goon, but whats a goon to a goblin”). Goon means a lame/weak/uninfluencial person. Another useful term I’ve learned is “juicin” that means having sex. “Kick rocks” that means “Forget you”.
However, I’ve recently heard lots of people here in Memphis, TN (where I’m visiting my inlaws for Thanksgiving 08) say “kill yourself”, even (especially) to their friends. “Kill yourself” in this sense is like telling someone “you should be embarrassed”. It’s often seen as a very funny things to say. Even though I’ve chuckled at the hearing of this a time or two (which I guess I should “kill myself” for), I think this is a detrimental phrase that we should quickly put into retirement.
Yes. Its illogical to think that someone would actually go and hurt himself/herself if a friend, enemy, or frienemy actually told them to “kill yourself”. But think about the psychological implication. Which is “You should be so ashamed of what you said, what you wore, what you thought, that you should feel ashamed enuff to hurt– Even if only on the inside. Or to feel like you best not do that again.”
Also, think of the children who may over hear this. A 4 year old that hears their parent, or sibling say kill yourself to someone, may not be about to differentiate between this silly catch phrase and the literal meaning.
I think language is a very influential part of our society and in our growth as individual people. Responsible people should encourage the retirement of vernacular phrases like “kill yourself” and “go play in traffic” (which means the same thing and is actual seen as a euphemism for “kill yourself”).
How important is language to society? Does it matter either way if we say hurtful or helpful things to people of all ages?

(Please be advised that this blog entry will be edited often, so please be on the lookout for updated versions.)