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What types of test should I use for a music concentration experiment?
Question Date: 2012-12-04
Answer 1:

One way that you can test for concentration is by using methods from mind-wandering experiments. A researcher at UC Santa Barbara investigates mind-wandering. I'll give an example of his methods, and you can adapt them based on your research question:

1. Participant is told he or she will be reading a passage from a book for 30 minutes.
2. Participant is told about what mind wandering or "zoning out" means. This is their script: "At some point during reading, you realize that you have no idea what you just read" and "not only were you not really thinking about the text, you were thinking about something else altogether."
3. Participant is told to press a key on the computer whenever they catch themselves zoning out.
4. Participant is also prompted every 2 to 4 minutes during reading with the question "Are you zoning out?" and they must indicate "yes" or "no."

I don't know exactly what question you're interested in asking, but here's one way you could test the effect of music on concentration:
use the methods above, but have one group read in silence and the other group read with music playing. See which group experiences mind wandering more often!

Methods from: Sayette, M. A.; Reichle, E. D.; Schooler J. W. Psychological Science 2009, 20 (6), 747-752.

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