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Hit songs and the human heartbeat

  1. Aug 28, 2004 #1

    Math Is Hard

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    Years ago I heard about a study being done that concluded the majority of hit songs had a beat that was closely in synch with the human heartbeat. I have been googling around trying to find some reference on this but nothing's coming up. Does anyone remember such a study and who might have been involved in this?
    I am beginning to think what I heard was just a rumor.

    Thanks,

    MIH
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 28, 2004 #2
    Investigations into matching of music tempo to human heart rate

    I queried OVID PsycINFO for:

    *heart rate/ and music.mp. [mp=title, abstract, subject headings, table of contents, key concepts]


    OVID PsycINFO returned 41 hits and, of those, the following three seem to be relevant:



    • 11. Iwanaga, Makoto. Relationship between heart rate and preference for tempo of music. Perceptual & Motor Skills. Vol 81(2) Oct 1995, 435-440. Perceptual & Motor Skills, US
      • •
      Examined the relationship between tempo preference and heart rate, using a music stimulus. A musical piece was repeatedly presented as a stimulus, with its tempo varying from 30-240 cpm, to 14 female undergraduates (aged 19-22 yrs). Ss were asked to search for their favorite tempo by changing the tempo of the stimulus. The presented tempo was compared with mean heart rate during the 5 sec immediately before the S found her favorite tempo. Results show that Ss tended to prefer a tempo similar to that of their heart rate. A tempo that was 1.5 times, or twice as fast as the heart rate was less preferred. Ss preferred a faster tempo in the descending series than in the ascending. It is suggested that the preference for tempo is influenced by both autonomic activity and differences in the meaning of stimuli.


      12. Iwanaga, Makoto. Harmonic relationship between preferred tempi and heart rate. Perceptual & Motor Skills. Vol 81(1) Aug 1995, 67-71. Perceptual & Motor Skills, US
      • •
      Examined the functional relationship between heart rate and preferred tempo in 7 male and 7 female undergraduate students (aged 19-21 yrs). Ag/AgCl electrodes were attached to the chest wall, and a thermistor was placed under the nostril to measure heart rate and respiration, for each S. Ss were required to search for their favorite tempo by adjusting the control dial of a handmade digital synthesizer. The stimulus was a 440-Hz pure tone presented at 60-dB pressure through a stereo headphone. Two trial sequences, an ascending and a descending series, were employed. Results show that although there were individual differences in heart rate, Ss preferred the tempi which bore a simple harmonic relation to the cycle of the heart rate. The mean heart rate for individual Ss ranged from 62.8-92.1 bpm, which supports earlier findings that people prefer 70-200 cmp of musical tempo (W. J. Dowling & D. L. Harwood, 1986).


      13. Iwanaga, Makoto. Comments to Dr. LeBlanc's report. Perceptual & Motor Skills. Vol 81(3, Pt 2) Dec 1995, 1293-1294. Perceptual & Motor Skills, US
      • •
      Comments on Albert LeBlanc's (see Perceptual and Motor Skills, 1995, 81, 1253-1254) suggestions on the present author's report on the direct relationship between preference for music tempo and heart rate. Stressing the preliminary nature of the study, 3 comments are given which point out the correlational, as opposed to causal, nature of the relationship and the possibility of other factors that may affect preference for tempo.
     
  4. Aug 28, 2004 #3

    Math Is Hard

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    Oh my gosh, HitSquad! I am much indebted!
    What is OVID PsychINFO? Is this a special psychological research database?
     
  5. Aug 28, 2004 #4
    I'm confused. The human heartbeat various depending on the activity. So when you say hit songs are in synch with the heartbeat, it doesn't make any sense if you don't specify the conditions of the heartbeat.
     
  6. Aug 28, 2004 #5

    Math Is Hard

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    The studies above refer to a "mean heart rate" for the subjects in the test. I assume that most subjects were not engaging in anything more strenuous than sitting quietly or twiddling knobs.
     
  7. Aug 29, 2004 #6
    Is music taste tempo matched to nominal heart rate or immediate heart rate

    Jin seems to have a good point here. Many persons like to dance to their favorite music. But if a person gets up and begins dancing — something which, unless it is slow-dance music, should push his heart rate from 50-100 BPM to well over 100 BPM — does his musical taste suddenly change?

    Perhaps subjects' tastes are matched to their nominal heart rates. The description by Iwanaga of the 1986 Dowling & Harwood paper ("...findings that people prefer 70-200 cmp of musical tempo...") seem to suggest that. In fact, I would venture that the 1986 Dowling & Harwood paper may be more along the lines of what Math Is Hard was originally searching for.

    I just did some searching and it turns out Dowling & Harwood 1986 is a book. Amazon.com has it (and says it was published in 1985, not 1986).
     
  8. Aug 29, 2004 #7

    Math Is Hard

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    Thanks very much. That's just what I was looking for.
     
  9. Aug 29, 2004 #8
    PsycINFO - what it is and how to access it

    No problem.



    Yes. PsycINFO is a database of abstracts of journal-published psychology papers. It is only a database and only contains the raw data; therefore, some kind of search program (search engine) is needed to access it, just as the medical-abstracts database Medline needs to be hooked up to search-engines in order to be user accessable.

    One of the many search engines that access Medline is PubMed, and one of the many search engines that access PsycINFO is the general search engine OVID. I access the OVID family of search engines through my affiliate institution Oregon State University which in turn pays OVID for institutional access.

    There are other psychology databases, by the way. Physics Forums poster Nachtwolf accesses psychology abstracts and full-text papers through ProQuest, which his affiliate institution subscribes to. I understand that ProQuest can act as a search engine for both its own proprietary psychology papers database (PsycARTICLES), and the PsycINFO database, depending on the particular reference package a given instition opts for.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2004
  10. Aug 30, 2004 #9

    Math Is Hard

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    I am taking a Research Methods in Psychology class in the spring so I bet I'll be getting exposure to some of these databases you listed. Thanks for acquainting me with some of these names in advance.
     
  11. Aug 30, 2004 #10
    Accessing academic research databases from off-campus

    I access my school's databases off-campus through a proxy server. You might want to do the same, as it can be very convenient. To set your proxy server setting (In Windows XP) go to Control Panel -> Internet Options -> Connections -> LAN Settings, and enter your school's proxy server URL in the space labelled "Address." On mine, the checkbox labelled "Use automatic configuration script" is checked.

    You should be able to get your school's proxy server address by calling your school library or your school tech support. Also, your school's library home page should have all of the research databases students can access listed there. There are physics and engineering databases — such as Compendex and INSPEC — that colleges commonly subscribe to and that you might be interested in browsing. You also might have access to LexisNexis. I like to search LexisNexis for recent articles on nuclear energy issues so I have fodder to post to the nuclear energy discussion group Know Nukes.
     
  12. Aug 30, 2004 #11

    Math Is Hard

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    That's a great idea. :smile: I work for an Info Sys dept at a UC campus, so I should be able to get the address very easily. I'll inquire this week.
     
  13. Aug 30, 2004 #12

    Moonbear

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    Something tells me it might be just a coincidence that preferred music tempos seem similar to heart rates. I think Jin debunked it! I can only speak from anecdotal experience on this. While in college, I had a health problem that had tachycardia as a symptom (really fast heart rate...my resting heart rate could hit 120 or 140)...I didn't like music any faster than any of my other friends. (Oh, and don't worry, that health problem has long since gone away).

    It seems that would be a necessary control, to test preferred music tempo during rest and after some exercise to raise heart rate.

    When I'm exercising, my preferred music tempo is the one that matches my footsteps best. I also have very selective choices of music when I'm working in the lab and have to cut thin tissue sections on the microtome. You have to cut at just the right, uniform speed to get good tissue sections, so I find music that helps me keep that rhythm going. Then again, I might just be weird.
     
  14. Nov 10, 2004 #13
    according to desmond morris, a well-known anthropologist in the book "intimate behavior" the average resting heart rate for a _pregnant_mother_ is 72 bpm. it has also been noted most things with a tolerance of about +- 12 of this number are usually quite placating (read: frequency of oscillation of a rocking cradle, the ticking of a clock (within the -12 tolerance). i should also mention that the reason why this 72 bmp is so significant is because it one of the first and few clearly audible sounds that a baby can hear - think 6th grade when you had to watch those "family life" videos and you could hear a sort of whirring sound present during an ultrasound of a pregnant mother.
     
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