Rhythm And Blues: The Effect Of Music On Movement Patterns And Anxiety
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Previous research has described some interactive relationships among music, movement, and anxiety. While a few creative art therapy studies have supported the idea of positive effects on health, most of these results have not been systematically investigated or replicated. The purpose of this project was to explore methods of quantifying the effects of music on movement patterns as well as their interactive effects on levels of state anxiety. Using a 9-camera VICON motion capture system, kinematic measures were obtained when nine healthy young adult non-dancers completed a 30- second whole body movement task with and without music playing. These two conditions (music/silent) were tested on different days and the order was balanced across participants. From these data, heel strike time (during walking) and wrist pause times (during arm movements) were identified. The relative timing of these movement events was then studied and compared to the timing of the beats in the music condition. Physiological measurements (pulse rate and blood oxygenation) and a state-trait anxiety assessment were administered before and after practicing and performing the movement task during each session. All participants also completed a questionnaire after each session, describing their thoughts about their performance and their attention. Analysis of kinematic data focused on the following variables: variability of heel strike timing during stepping, variability of wrist inter-movement intervals, and synchronization of each movement event with the music beat (during the music condition). Interactions between these kinematic measures and the measures of anxiety across testing conditions were also examined. One subgroup of participants exhibited marked reduction in anxiety following the movement task, others did not. This subgroup 6 was further analyzed to identify potential contributing factors. In addition, there did appear to be an interactive effect of the order in which the music conditions were tested, because the reductions in anxiety were usually during the participants’ second testing session, regardless of testing condition. This practice effect also was found when the movement kinematics were examined for synchronization with the beat of the music. The effect of music was observed in addition to this practice effect, as some participants who had a larger anxiety reduction in the music condition than the silent condition showed lower movement variability in the music condition than the silent condition, regardless of testing order. These findings should inform future research examining interactions between movement and music as they affect participant anxiety.