Research Learning Center

About | This Week in the RLC | For Parents | Recent Research | For Researchers | Researcher Spotlight


Saturday, August 29

10 A.M. to 1 P.M.

Fast, slow, high, low: which musical features can increase our task productivity? 

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.

 


 

1 to 4 P.M.

Does our willpower have limits?

Have you ever wished for more willpower? Many researchers think that we have a limited supply of self-control, and that using it in one area of our lives will reduce its availability in other areas of our lives. For example, if a person makes himself focus on a challenging task at the computer all morning, he may not be able to resist that delicious dessert he sees at lunch. It seems that our self-control reserves are depleted as we use them.

This study will examine how quickly children’s self-control reserves are exhausted. Children will play 2 or 3 short computer games.  In each game, they will need to stop themselves from making an automatic response to stimuli on the computer screen. Self-control will be scored based on a combination of accuracy and reaction time.  We predict that performance on the self-control games will decrease as children progress through the games. This research will help us understand the limits of children’s willpower in everyday activities, and will lead to a future study that examines the impact of mindfulness meditation on willpower.

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

Fun Fact
Every year, the Museum provides almost 200,000 hours of science and social studies education for Texas students.

Charlie Noble callout

Site Design by {algo+rhythm}