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Experimental Design — Michael Lindsey

I’m publishing this a little early because I’m planning on going out of town for the next day and a half or so and wouldn’t have a chance to before Saturday evening.  Here’s what I have typed out for my study this Monday (or Wednesday).   I have some attachments for the procedue (I have a powerpoint file with the photos for the first test and a word document for the pairs of adjectives in the second test) but was unable to upload them to this posting.  I also have a lot of short musical files that I’ve put into an iTunes playlist (hence the track numbers besides each stimulus) that I was unsure of how to link up as well.  

 [[BC: the editing suggestions are visible in your text via boldface (for suggested alternative language) and some strikethrough. My comments are in double brackets, and usually in italics. I want to stress that these are just suggestions—please feel free to ignore them, as you know best what your stimuli and questions require.]]


Test 1:  Detecting test subjects’ abilities to associate emotions with music. [[BC: but you probably won’t include this in anything that the participants see, right?]]


In this experiment you will answer four questions regarding your perception of emotional affect in music [[<—first sentence not necessary; you’re inviting pre-test analysis]].  In each of the questions you will be played a single musical example, of 20 seconds in duration.  During each musical example you will be shown three pictures.  Each picture portrays a scene in which individuals or groups of individuals are expressing various emotions in reaction to various external stimuli.  Based on your perception of the musical examples, choose which picture best expresses or parallels the emotion or emotions evoked by the musical example.  For example, if you think that the music evokes a sad or melancholy emotion, choose the picture that you think most clearly identifies with sadness or melancholy.  Likewise, if the emotion you feel the music portrays is happy and vibrant, choose the best appropriately corresponding picture.  Write down the letter of the picture you feel best reflects your feeling or emotion in response to the emotion evoked by the musical example in the spaces provided on your answer sheet.


Stimulus 1 – Track 1 Raga Mian Ki Malhar (MKM1SitarAR) – C

Stimulus 2 – Track 3 Raga Deepak (Deepak3VocalAR) – B

Stimulus 3 – Track 5 Raga Malkauns (MalkaunSitarAR) – C

Stimulus 4 – Track 7 Raga Hindol (HindolSarodAR) – A


Test 2: Relating perceived emotions in contrasting musical stimuli.


In this experiment you will be played a series of paired musical examples.  You will first hear a musical example 20 seconds in duration, followed by a pause of 20 seconds, and continued  followed by a second musical example also 20 seconds in length.  You will then be given 90 seconds in which to select a series of answers regarding the musical examples.  As in the first experiment, consider the emotions that are evoked by your feelings or emotions in response to the different musical examples, and the relationships that you perceive between the individual pairs of musical examples. 

After hearing each pair of musical passages? stimuli, choose a pair of words from the list given below, that that you feel reflect a relationship corresponding to the two musical examples that you heard.  [[Can you simplify this sentence?—>]] In these lists, the adjectives on the left indicate an emotion evoked by the first musical example while the adjective on the right identifies to the emotion evoked by the musical example heard second. [[Or how about “Choose a word from the list on the left to correspond to the first example, and a word on the right that relates to your first chosen word in the way that the second musical example related to the first.”]] Circle at least 3, and up to 6, sets of adjectives [[words?]]  for each pair of musical stimuli.  Circle at least 3. 


Stimulus 1 – Tracks 9 and 11 Raga Miyan Ki Malhar and Raga Deepak

Stimulus 2 – Tracks 13 and 15 Raga Basant and Raga Malkauns

Stimulus 3 – Tracks 17 and 19 Raga Shree and Raga Hindol

Stimulus 4 – Tracks 21 and 23 Raga Deepak and Raga Megh

Stimulus 5 – Tracks 25 and 27 Raga Malkauns and Raga Hindol

Stimulus 6 – Tracks 29 and 31 Raga Shree and Raga Basant

Stimulus 7 – Tracks 33 and 35 Raga Hindol and Raga Shree

Stimulus 8 – Tracks 37 and 39 Raga Megh and Raga Deepak

Stimulus 9 – Tracks 41 and 43 Raga Deepak and Raga Miyan Ki Malhar

Stimulus 10 – Tracks 45 and 47 Raga Hindol and Raga Malkauns

Stimulus 11 – Tracks 49 and 51 Raga Basant and Raga Shree

Stimulus 12 – Tracks 53 and 55 Raga Malkauns and Raga Basant

Reader Comments (1)

This looks fascinating ... and pretty well prepared as a procedure. Uploading audio to my site is probably not necessary, and I want to be a subject in the test, so it's probably best not to bias me. (Cameron's audio was on soundcloud, and I know enough about the specific issues being raised in his test, that I (and probably others in the seminar) shouldn't be subjects.)

There's some question in my mind about the length of the prompt for Test 1. Some of it seems like what you are doing is analyzing, for the participant, the very issue that you're trying to discover about them, and that might not be ideal. You may want to consider removing these two sentences:

"For example, if you think that the music evokes a sad or melancholy emotion, choose the picture that you think most clearly identifies with sadness or melancholy. Likewise, if the emotion you feel the music portrays is happy and vibrant, choose the best appropriately corresponding picture."

... for the reason that you've asked your participants to translate music into language and then language into image -- adding a translation step in the middle that might actually "leave behind" some of the subtle things that people feel about either the image or the sound.

And I might suggest simplifying and streamlining some of the other language in that paragraph to make sure your participants are free to associate the photos and sounds however they like. Is it really just about the faces of those in the pictures, or isn't it also about the whole environment? Would it be beneficial just to let the images and the sound "do what they do", subconsciously, and see what comes up?

Those are just open questions -- if I've misunderstood a feature of this preliminary test, you might want to keep things as they are.

Nov 30, 2013 at 6:24 PM | Registered CommenterBen Carson

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