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Music, Mice, and Mankind...

Thu, Dec 8, 2011 at 7:15 AM By: Maiden of Malice

SO WHO WANTS TO EXPERIMENT WITH ME?! (HA! I knew that would get your attention….) In my Advanced Bio. Theory class we were given until May to design and conduct our own experiments using whatever we want. We could use people, animals, plants, or even just ourselves, but it has to be legal and humane. (Way to take the fun out of things, right?)
Well, because I LOVE everything about music, I wanted it to be the base of my experiment, and because I have no money and limited resources, I have decided to use feeder mice as my test subjects (soooo original, I know). While other people are testing the physical aspects of different things, I will be testing the psychological impacts of music on the brain. Why? BECAUSE I’M CRAZY! (OR, you might say Disturbed….) But it’s also because of how people are so prejudice against different types of music and how they generalize an entire audience by looking “INSIDE of the box”. Many of the other people who have done tests with mice and music, (and there ARE others), have concluded basically that heavy rock/metal displays evil, ‘rot your brain’, and make you more violent. What I got from reading those articles was a wave of biasness and an experiment infected with religious beliefs- a big no-no in the scientific community.
So here’s MY plan: I will use my few mice that I got on December 6th and observe them until Friday, December 9th. My little spin on this experiment will be interaction with the mice, making them into pets as oppose to just ‘guinea pigs’, (yeah…that just happened). You see, by taking the time to learn the personalities of the mice, I believe that it will give further insight as to how the different types of music will affect their behavior, and, ultimately, a possible reason as to why music affects PEOPLE the way it does. In my study, I will alternate different musical qualities from time to time to see how the mice respond. By qualities I mean volume, timbre {which is said like ‘amber’ (HA! did ya catch that? My name’s Amber ?…) and basically means tone}, male vocals vs. female vocals, and tempo/time signature, (would a waltz-vibe in 3/4 time have a different effect than a song in common, 4/4 time?) Think of it this way: when you listen to “Indestructible” by Disturbed, you most likely feel like you ARE indestructible, ready to fight the fire, and it gives you more energy than you would get if you listened to, say, “Darkness”. On a broader perspective, how would feel listening to “E.T.” by Katy Perry, (I know: it hurt me just to type it) in contrast to listening to “That Don’t Impress Me Much” by Shania Twain (again, ugh)?
When Friday rolls around and we’re all singing, “It’s Friday, Friday. Gotta get down on Friday…”, my mice, (all of whom I have named, ‘cause I’m cool like that), will each be given a song from their designated genre, (except for the one that will be the control mouse, without any assigned music): Izzy will have pop, Jasmine will have jazz/blues, (catch that one, either?), Sarah’s got country, Anory, (an awesome, made-up name that was literally scratched into my flesh by my psychotic cat, and is pronounced ‘an-or-ee’), has metal (YAAAAY!), and Monica has nothing (?).

So what’s the point in writing all this on here? Well, my young Pad-1, I would like to ask you if you would be awesome enough to take part in the human portion of the experiment. Although you can observe mice, you can’t immediately communicate with them, (at least, not to MY knowledge….just yet…OH WAH AH AH AH!), but by having people follow a similar test, we can find out the more emotional side of music and the thoughts/ physical changes that music can provoke. I believe that the more test subjects I have, the better different types of music can be fully understood and accepted by society.
Here’s the deal: if you’re really cool and want to potentially make a difference in the art world, please, please, PLEASE email me at pennychick95@ It won’t cost you anything except time and honesty. What I’ll do is send you a specific song once a week and a list of questions that ask about the effects it may have had on you, (heart rate, thoughts, emotions, etc.). You don’t have to strain your brain or do anything physical: just listen to a song and answer some basic questions. Please keep in mind that a study is only as good as its test subjects, so even though everyone can, (AND SHOULD!), participate, honest answers are the key to discovery. It would be so cool to get people from many different countries and backgrounds so that we can have a mixing pot of diversity and perspective?, and even though I have to turn in an over-20 page report in the end, I firmly believe that if we can get enough people, we can eventually get rid of those stupid stereotypes and make people see through different eyes…well, in this case, hear through different ears….

P.S. If you want to email me and help with the project, (which I call simply “Music, Mice, and Mankind…”), I would appreciate it if you could send back the info-survey below with your (honest) answers. This is only so that I can see how different lives/ backgrounds alter the results of music. All gathered information will be presented, but NOTHING will EVER be given out on a personal level. (Basically, it will all come together as numbers on a chart. So, I’m sorry to say, but in this case, you will ultimately be just a number. ?) This first survey is probably the most thinking you’ll have to do, so don’t worry. (I don’t want this to be a burden, I want it to be fun! SO I might send the emails in pretty colors and awesome fonts just for you.)
And think, if this makes a real difference, YOU could say, “Yeah, suck it”. People who listen strictly to pop or country could be listening to Disturbed or Godsmack within a few months, totally rockin’ out and having headbangin’ good time! Personally, I am VERY determined and excited to lead this conversion-invasion-thing, and I can’t wait to see stingy old men giving out the devil horns.

PEACE! (But always rock your heart out…) \m/ -Amber G.

General Bio

I. ID (what name you want me to put all information under?)

II. Age:

III. Gender:

IV. What state or country do you live in? Were you originally raised there?

V. On a scale of one to ten, how religious do you think you are? (You can say what your religion is, too, but ONLY if you want to.)

VI. If I handed you a piece of sheet music could you read it and/or tell me the different components (time signature, tempo, key, etc.) and how they come together? (Sorry guitarists, TAB doesn’t count.)

• Do you play any instruments? (Please list all and for how many years you’ve played each)

VII. What types of music did your parent(s)/guardian(s) listen to when you were young?

VIII. What do you now listen to? (Do you have any favorites, either to listen to or to play on an instrument?)

IX. Is there any specific kind of music you just can’t stand? (Please name all and specifically why you don’t like each.)

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