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January Saturdays

10 A.M. to 1 P.M.

Fast, slow, high, low:  what musical elements influence your task performance?

Many people listen to music or watch TV while they work or study.  Does the music help them do better work?  Our previous studies showed that a significant number of individuals had stronger productivity on a simple mental task when listening to Cuban dance music than when working in silence.  What ingredients in the Cuban dance selection helped to stimulate the increased productivity? 

In this study, we will compare four different combinations of pitch and tempo in an attempt to determine what musical factors may influence productivity.  Participants will complete a simple mental task during four different musical conditions:  (1) high pitch, fast tempo; (2) high pitch, slow tempo; (3) low pitch, fast tempo; (4) low pitch, slow tempo.  Results will be compared between conditions, and each participant will be able to determine if the listening environment has affected his/her own task performance.

This study is a collaboration between Zhengsi Chang, University of Texas at Arlington; Mike Schellen, University of North Texas; Debbie Cockerham, University of North Texas; Dr. Lin Lin, University of North Texas; and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.

1 to 4 P.M.

What helps us pay attention?

Have you ever wished you weren’t so easily distracted? Many researchers think that our attention and self-control are limited resources, and that certain activities can be used to help us pay attention and avoid distractions.

This study will examine children’s attention and self-control. Children will play two games on an iPad to measure attention and self-control. Scores on the game will be based on a combination of accuracy and reaction time. Between the games, children will wear noise-cancelling headphones to help calm themselves and refocus attention.We predict that children will do better on the second game after sitting quietly. This research will help us understand what helps us boost our attention and self-control in everyday activities. 

This study is a collaboration between Catherine Spann, University of Texas at Arlington ( ), and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.

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