The present study investigates the effects of choir music on secretory immunoglobulin A (S-IgA), cortisol, and emotional states in members of a mixed amateur choir. Subjects participated in two conditions during two rehearsals 1 week apart, namely singing versus listening to choral music. Saliva samples and subjective measures of affect were taken both before each session and 60 min later. Repeated measure analyses of variance were conducted for positive and negative affect scores, S-IgA, and cortisol. Results indicate several significant effects. In particular, singing leads to increases in positive affect and S-IgA, while negative affect is reduced. Listening to choral music leads to an increase in negative affect, and decreases in levels of cortisol. These results suggest that choir singing positively influences both emotional affect and immune competence. The observation that subjective and physiological responses differed between listening and singing conditions invites further investigation of task factors.
In this study, we evaluated cardiovascular, neuroendocrine, and psychological adjustment to repeated presentations of a public speaking and a mental arithmetic task. Brief versions of mental arithmetic tasks have been used widely in previous reactivity studies, and growing attention to more socially salient tasks has led to the increased use of public speaking tasks. However, psychophysiological adjustment during extended and repeated exposure to these tasks has not been delineated. In the present study, 52 healthy men worked on three 8-min presentations of public speaking and of mental arithmetic in a repeated measure design. Both tasks produced substantial cardiovascular, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and cortisol responses; public speaking produced greater changes. Repeated presentations of public speaking produced a stable pattern of cardiac activation, whereas repetitions of the mental arithmetic initially produced large cardiac responses that changed to a more vascular tonus across task periods. Both tasks increased negative moods. However, correlations between the endocrine, cardiovascular, and negative moods were significant only during the public speaking stressor. The public speaking task is a socially relevant experimental protocol for studying reactivity in the laboratory setting and elicits relatively high, stable, and homogeneous responses.
Instrumental music training has been shown to enhance cognitive processing beyond general intelligence. We examined this assumption with regard to working memory performance in primary school-aged children (N = 50; 7–8 years of age) within a longitudinal study design. Half of the children participated in an extended music education program with 45 minutes of weekly instrumental music training, while the other half received extended natural science training. Each child completed a computerized test battery three times over a period of 18 months. The battery included seven subtests, which address the central executive, the phonological loop and the visuospatial sketchpad components of Baddeley’s working memory model. Socio-economic background and basic cognitive functions were assessed for each participant and used as covariates in subsequent analyses of variance (ANOVAs). Significant group by time interactions were found for phonological loop and central executive subtests, indicating a superior developmental course in children with music training compared to the control group. These results confirm previous findings concerning music training and cognitive performance. It is suggested that children receiving music training benefit specifically in those aspects of cognitive functioning that are strongly related to auditory information processing.
This study examined the effects of a school-based instrumental training program on the development of verbal and visual memory skills in primary school children. Participants either took part in a music program with weekly 45 min sessions of instrumental lessons in small groups at school, or they received extended natural science training. A third group of children did not receive additional training. Each child completed verbal and visual memory tests three times over a period of 18 months. Significant Group by Time interactions were found in the measures of verbal memory. Children in the music group showed greater improvements than children in the control groups after controlling for children’s socio-economic background, age, and IQ. No differences between groups were found in the visual memory tests. These findings are consistent with and extend previous research by suggesting that children receiving music training may benefit from improvements in their verbal memory skills.
The present study addresses visual attention and processing speed in primary school children (N = 345; 7-8 years of age) who received either music (MC) or natural science training (NC) over a period of 18 months. Dependent variables were collected three times (T1-T3) and included measures for processing speed, visual attention and cognitive music abilities. They were submitted to latent or manifest change models including socioeconomic status and basic cognitive functions as covariates. Groups performed similarly in all dependent tasks at baseline (T1). MC showed significant increases in processing speed as well as in music abilities from T2 to T3 and increases in rhythmic abilities from T1 to T2. Although MC also showed increases in both processing speed and visual attention over time, they were at a small advantage with respect to the former and at a clear disadvantage with respect to the latter measure as compared to NC.
Nicotine may be used to manage negative emotions, and recent research suggests that smokers with high levels of hostility may use cigarettes to cope with anger provoking situations. This study evaluated the extent to which a high level of trait anger is associated with risk for relapse among smokers interested in cessation. Chronic smokers with different levels of trait anger provided reports of withdrawal symptoms, craving, and state anger, and collected saliva samples for cortisol during 24-hour ad libitum smoking and the first 24-hour abstinence period of a quit attempt. They also attended a laboratory session conducted after the 24-hour abstinence during which they performed brief mental and social stress challenges and provided blood samples for adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) and cortisol assays. High trait anger was associated with greater increases in state anger, withdrawal symptoms, and craving during the first 24 hour of abstinence. It was also associated with greater ACTH concentrations during the laboratory session. High trait anger was also associated with increased risk for early relapse. The findings support the hypothesis that smokers high in anger trait may have greater mood difficulties during abstinence and may be more vulnerable to early relapse than smokers with low anger trait.
The objective of the present study was to examine the influence of personality traits and coping strategies on performance anxiety among professional orchestra musicians. The sample consisted of 122 members of six German symphony and opera orchestras. The musicians were asked to complete questionnaires measuring various personality traits. In addition, shortly before a normal rehearsal and a public performance, they also gave details about their state-coping and their present level of performance anxiety. The latter was measured by four aspects: Lack of confidence, worry, emotionality, and physical symptoms. These aspects of performance anxiety have different patterns of predicting personality traits and the patterns also differ between the rehearsal and the performance situation. Musicians suffering from performance anxiety will try all manner of strategies before a rehearsal or performance to cope with the situation, even if not all of these strategies are appropriate for reducing performance anxiety.
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