Measuring Musical Engagement

You are invited to participate in a study on the different ways how we listen to and appreciate music. This study is conducted by Thijs Vroegh, doctorate at the Music Department of the Max Plank Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt, Germany.

To participate, visit this page:

Call for Participation: NEMCOG @ Wesleyan!


The next semiannual meeting of the Northeast Music Cognition Group (NEMCOG) will take place at Wesleyan University on Saturday April 4, 2015. The goal of NEMCOG is to facilitate interaction among researchers at institutions along the Northeast Corridor who are interested in the area of music cognition, to discuss research in the field, and to identify topics of joint interest and areas for potential collaboration.

To register for the event, please RSVP to the NEMCOG organizers at by Sunday, March 15, 2015. Continental breakfast and a catered lunch will be provided.

The schedule for the workshop is as follows:

8:00 – 9:00     Registration and breakfast
9:00 – 10:00    Short talks: Session I
10:00 – 10:30   Coffee break
10:30 – 11:30   Short talks: Session II
11:30 – 12:00   Coffee break
12:00 – 1:300   Short talks: Session III
1:00 – 2:00     Lunch
2:00 – 3:00     Keynote
3:00 – 3:30     Coffee break
3:30 – 4:30     Concert
4:30 – 5:00     Panel discussion with performers and scientists
5:00 – 6:00     Open house
6:00 onwards    Informal gathering (on your own – list of restaurants will be provided)

We invite submissions of very short (8-minute) presentations of research for an interdisciplinary audience. This year, we especially welcome abstract submissions in honor of David Wessel (1942 – 2014), Professor of Music at UC Berkeley, founding director of Berkeley’s Center for New Music and Audio Technologies, and past president of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition. We hope to make slots for eight-minute talks available to all, but in an effort to make room for speakers who have not spoken at NEMCOG previously, we may have to turn down some requests for slots at this meeting. If you would like to do a presentation, please indicate so in your RSVP with a tentative title and a short abstract or bio. All presented abstracts and bios will be shared with our attendees and posted on our web site.

If you are unable to come to this meeting but would like to remain as an interested non-attendee, you could be kept abreast of the group’s activities through continued inclusion on our e-mail list. If this message was forwarded to you by a colleague or through another e-mail list, and you would like to receive our regular announcements, please sign up for our mailing lists at

Please circulate this invitation widely to anybody that you think might be interested and able to attend either this meeting or future meetings elsewhere in the Northeast Corridor region.

Organizing Committee
Psyche Loui, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and Behavior, Wesleyan University
Mark Slobin, Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music, Wesleyan University
Ron Kuivila, University Professor of Music, Wesleyan University
Gloster Aaron, Associate Professor of Biology and Neuroscience and Behavior, Wesleyan University
Ed Large, Professor of Psychology, University of Connecticut

Executive Committee
Morwaread Farbood, NYU
Psyche Loui, Wesleyan University
Panayotis Mavromatis, NYU
Ève Poudrier, Yale
Ian Quinn, Yale

Sample Structured Abstract Reports

Here are a few sample structured abstracts from students group projects in previous semesters:

– Acevedo, Lettie, Parnes, & Schartmann (2013), Effect of Tempo on Perceived Emotion of Musical Excerpts

– Broshy, Latterner, & Sherwin (2013), Interaction Between Melodic Pitch Content and Rhythmic Perception

– Davis, Fox, & Roth (2013), Effects of Rhythmic Consistency on Perceived Speech Effectiveness

– De Freitas, Jameson, & Strebendt (2013), Influence of Rhythmic Tempo on Sustained Entrainment to the Beat

– Guerra, Hosch, & Selinsky (2013), Tapping to Uneven Beats




Final Presentation Instructions

Instructions are found below and can be downloaded here.

Goal: Deliver a substantial and effective presentation of your research project to a (mock) panel of judges from a major funding agency on Wednesday, December 17, 9:00 AM (SKL 408). Individual presentations should be no more than 25 minutes, including 5 minutes for questions.

Required format: The presentation should be prepared using PowerPoint (or equivalent software). It is strongly recommended that you use the presenters’ tool to insert notes of what you plan to say. All slides must be emailed to me by December 17, 8:45 AM; make sure to include all the necessary materials (video/audio files). All materials should be sent in a single folder; it is also recommended to save the single folder on a thumb drive as back up.

Grading: This assignment will count for 50 points out of 100. The grade will be based on adherence to instructions (5), quality of delivery (20), quality of contents (20), and timely submission (5 points); see the attached evaluation sheet. Because this presentation counts as the final exam, each student is required to attend the entire duration of the presentations; no make-up will be given unless supported by a Dean’s permission.

Although presentations will vary in style, they should include all the components listed below; each component may be represented by one or a few slides. Note that the amount of time spent on each component will vary depending on the specific nature of the project and the state of research on this topic.

  1. Larger context
  • Situate your project within some everyday life element.
  1. Research question
  • State the question as clearly and succinctly as possible; include all necessary definitions.
  1. So what?
  • Why should the audience care about this particular question? Are there larger implications?
  1. Background research/Previous findings
  • What is the surrent state of knowledge/research on this topic? What are the specific findings directly relevant to your project?
  • Divide previous work and findings done into 2-3 categories based on different aspects of the question or research methods used.


  1. Hypothesis statement/Specific questions
  • Re-state your question in terms of variables, measures, and possible outcomes (i.e., if behavior A is observed, it will suggest a, and if behavior B is observed, it will suggest b).
  • If your research does not involve a behavioral experiment but some other form of empirical method, you can still form a hypothesis, but it might be stated in a (somewhat) different format. Alternatively, you may present a set of specific questions.
  1. Experimental design/Research method
  • Descirne the proposed experiment as clearly and concretely as possible, including source materials (you may include a sample) & methods (task, procedure, participants, variables, measures, data analysis).
  • Include some kind of figure that clarifies the experimental design in some way; this can help clarify the procedure and might save a lot of time.
  • Identify at least one musical example you plan to use either for analysis or as source materials for your proposed experimental design, and make it part of your presentation (i.e., play a recording, if available, or present it as an example).
  • NOTE: If your research does not involve a behavioral experiment, this section should be adapted to your methodology. For example, if your work involves corpus analysis (i.e., the systematic analysis of a given characteristic in a representative sample from a particular body of works), you should provide a description of the method and a sample analysis. If the research on your topic is still in its infancy, say how you plan to advance the research, and be as specific as possible.
  1. Concluding remarks/Discussion
  • Identify possible applications of your findings and/or important questions/issues on which your research is likely to shed some light. NOTE: This section is a way to re-visit the “So what?” question you initially adressed, but in the light of your proposal.

8. References

  • You final slide should include a list of all references; make sure to use APA style throughout; you may use the references section of the structured abstract template as an example.

Final Deadlines & Feedback – Updated!

Today was our last regular class meeting. I will be available for online and email feedback as well as for individual meetings throughout the Reading period and until our scheduled Final exam period (Wednesday, December 17 @ 9:00 AM). Please allow at least 48hrs for response to email queries. I will review posting on the Virtual Lab periodically, but if you need feedback more urgently, you can always send me a note via email, with a link to the posting you want me to take a look at.

The updated individual project final presentation instructions and sample structured abstracts reports from previous offerings of the course have been posted on the corresponding pages of the Virtual Lab.

Remember that your completed structured abstract for the group project is due on Thursday, December 11 (end of Reading period); he final structured abstract should be posted on your Virtual Lab’s group project page. In addition to the structured abstract, I would like you to submit an offline copy of your Qualtrics survey (e.g., PDFs or screenshots), copies of your original stimuli (Group 1 only; please label each stimuli condition with an informative file name), and a copy of your data files (with data analysis details, if applicable). This will facilitate my review process as well as provide samples for future offerings of this class. Please send the requested materials as a single .zip folder and include a PDF version of the structured abstract report.

Assignment due Thursday, December 4

1. Group project: Write as much as possible of the structured abstract report. Sections 1 and 2 should be easy to fill-in now. Decide how the work will be divided between group members. Remember that each student should contribute equally and that all students are required to contribute at least one sub-section in the results section. To facilitate the collaborative writing, I suggest that you copy and paste the structured abstract report template on your group project page. Remember to save a copy on your personal computer as you are working on it. The completed report will due Thursday, December 11 (end of Reading period). To make sure this goal is achieved, all data collection should be completed and groups should plan to meet to format the data and divide up the remaining work at the latest by this Friday, December 5.

2. Individual project: Write a short summary of today’s progress report and post it on your individual project page. In the spirit of collaborative learning, take some time to read your colleagues’ newest posts and post comments/suggestions/questions. You should also follow-up on the individual feedback/suggestions you got today. I will post specific requirement for the final presentations later this week.



Authors’ names here (alphabetical order)

Yale University, Cognition of Musical Rhythm, Virtual Lab (this is your affiliation)



This section introduces your topic and research question and situates it in the larger context of musical experience and music research.

1.1  Introduction

Start with one or two sentences that situate your topic in the larger context of musical experience. Follow with highlighting the particular aspect of musical experience your study aims to investigate, providing all necessary definitions. You can also state your research question (or a series of related questions) in a preliminary form here.

1.2  Previous Research

This section provides a brief summary of previous research that has addressed some aspects of your research question. The summary can be organized topically (grouping sources that have investigated related aspects together) or methodologically (grouping sources that have employed similar methods together). References to specific articles should be given in parentheses, including authors’ last name and publication date (in alphabetical order within the parentheses, if there is more than one).

1.3  Present Research

State your formal (i.e., operationalized) research question here. You may include one or two additional sentences for clarification or details, including the predicted outcome.



This section provides the details of your experimental design as concisely and clearly as possible so that readers can better assess your results. You may include figures to illustrate some aspects of the method (e.g., diagram of procedure, notation of sample stimuli, etc.).

1.1  Participants

Provide some basic information about your population sample (age, gender, musical training). This is the population you can generalize to.

1.2  Stimuli

Describe your experimental materials and how they were constructed. Be as specific as possible: What are the source materials? What are the variables? How many different conditions and trials?

1.3  Task & Procedure

What is the experimental paradigm, i.e., what is the specific task your participants had to perform, including the specific instructions, and how were the materials presented (apparatus, order, type of response, etc.)?

1.4  Data Collection & Analysis

How was the data collected and in what format? What are your measures? How was the data transformed (if applicable)? What kind of statistical tests did you conduct?



This section presents an analysis of your data and basic findings. Begin with some descriptive statistics of your population sample (e.g., gender, age, musical training, etc.). Follow with descriptive and/or inferential statistics based on performance measures. Each analysis will generate one main observation supported by some form of statistical analysis (e.g., comparison of means and standard variations based on one variable, e.g., % correct scores in slow vs. fast tempo). Each result should be accompanied by a well-formed graph and/or table.

1.1 Population Sample

Report descriptive statistics related to your population sample (the population you will be able to generalize to).

1.2  Analysis & Figure 1

Report your first finding and supporting data.

1.3  Analysis & Figure 2

Report your second finding and supporting data.

1.4  Analysis & Figure 3

Report your third finding and supporting data.



This section aims to provide a brief summary of your study and contextualize its results. How do your results inform your original question? What are some of limitations of your method? What is the next step?



References should use current APA style and be well demarcated by indenting all the lines after the first (as exemplified below).

Fidali, B. C., Poudrier, È., & Repp, B. H. (2013). Detecting perturbations in polyrhythms: effects of complexity and attentional strategies. Psychological Research, 77, 183-195.

Poudrier, È. (2009). Local polymetric structures in Elliott Carter’s 90+ for piano (1994). In B. Heile (Ed.), Modernist legacy: essays on new music (pp. 205-233). Farnham, England: Ashgate.

Poudrier, È., & Repp, B. H. (2013). Can musicians track two different beats simultaneously? Music Perception, 30, 361-390.

FINAL STEP: Structured Abstract

A structured abstract is one of a few standard formats used in the publication of conference proceedings. It is a great way to share findings with the community. To facilitate your writing of this abstract, I have prepared a template (posted on this page) that contains the basic instructions on how to do it. You can work directly on the template by posting it on your group project page; a document copy of the abstract is available here.

As each student will be graded individually, it is very important that you subdivide the work evenly between group members and that authors write their names in square brackets at the end of each section they contribute.

Structured abstract must be completed at the latest by Thursday, December 11 (end of Reading period), but as much of the work can be completed in advance of doing the data analysis, you are required to complete the writing of sections 1 and 2 by Thursday, December 4, 11:30 AM (class time).


Upcoming assignments – Updated!

Here are the most pressing tasks at hand:

1. Individual Projects: If you have not posted your re-formulated question and the citations & abstracts of the new sources you have identified on your individual project page yet (as detailed in no. 2, d. of the last assignment post on the “This Week” page), please do so as soon as possible. Students are encouraged to review collegues’ postings and add comments/questions as needed.

2. Group Projects: It is imperative that your survey/experiment on Qualtrics be tested as soon as possible. Most of the data collection will have to happen over the break, so if it is at all possible, put in the final necessary changes and email me the links so that we can run the study within the class. Once you have ascertained that everything is working the way you intend it to and that data is being recorded in a readable format, you can start sending out calls for participation. If you send them to me, I will be happy to pass them along to colleagues at other institutions. (Jordan & Geneviève: Because of the pre-processing involved in your experiment, my advise would be to run this pilot with any of the excerpts you are planning to include. You can replace the sound clips after you make your final choice and then just test the revised version yourself before making it “live”.)

The final deadline for making your study live and sending invitations to participate is Monday, December 1, 11:59 PM. This will give you only a few days to collect data and analyze it if you want to complete your structured abstract by the end of classes on Friday, December 5. Structured abstracts must be completed at the latest by the end of Reading period on Thursday, December 11. Instructions on writing the structured abstract are available here.

Note that much of the writing can be done before all the data is collected and analyzed. Thus, as an incentive, you are required to complete the writing of sections 1 and 2 by Thursday, December 4, 11:30 AM.

Have a nice Thanksgiving!

Beat deafness

This Washington Post article discusses recent research on “beat deafness”:

Here’s the link to the study mentioned in the article, Losing the beat: deficits in temporal coordination: