The Situationist

Posts Tagged ‘music’

The Situation of “Natural Talent”

Posted by The Situationist Staff on March 6, 2011

From Harvard Gazette:

Fields such as music, math, and chess have had a predilection for a long time to seek out the youngest and most accomplished among them. According to Chia-Jung Tsay, this is because “we want to seek something that’s inherent to us. We associate accomplishment at a young age with something that comes effortlessly.” But does this desire to seek out “natural” talent eventually skew our view of what talent is?

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Tsay and her adviser, [Situationist Contributor] Mahzarin Banaji, the Richard Clarke Cabot Professor of Social Ethics, began looking at different domains, considering which fields more strongly emphasize natural talent over hard work and experience. They found that music was the most often cited for natural talent, and business was most cited for hard work.

“Venture capitalists recognize that hard work and background knowledge in the field matter a lot,” said Tsay. “It’s the same for a doctor or a lawyer, where hard work and years of experience are what make us successful. But I think there’s a little more subjectivity in evaluation in artistic fields.”

To test this, Tsay and Banaji brought in more than 100 professionally trained musicians. Each participant was presented with two profiles of two professional musicians, and a sample musical clip to listen to from each musician. The participants were then asked questions about how talented and successful they perceived the performer to be, and how willing they might be to hire this person.

In fact, both clips were the same musical excerpt, and the profiles differed only in their mention of whether the musician had natural or learned talent. The results ultimately showed two effects: “We found even in experts and ostensibly professionally trained musicians, most of them could not tell that the recordings were the same. And on average, people seemed to prefer the ‘naturally’ talented individual, even when they said they believed hard work was more important than natural talent.”

The dramatic results suggest, according to Banaji, “a crucial disparity between what experts espouse, and perhaps even consciously believe, is the best indicator of talent, and how they actually behave.”


Related Situationist posts:

Posted in Implicit Associations, Life, Situationist Contributors, Social Psychology | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

The Sound Situation of Beer Drinkers

Posted by The Situationist Staff on March 3, 2010

Guéguen, Jacob, Le Guellec, Morineau, and Lourel recently published an interesting article, titled “Sound level of environmental music and drinking behavior: a field experiment with beer drinkers.”  Here’s the abstract.

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OBJECTIVE: It had been found that environmental music was associated with an increase in alcohol consumption. The presence versus absence of music, high versus slow tempo and the different styles of environmental music is associated with different level of alcohol consumption. However, the effect of the level of the environmental music played in a bar still remained in question.

METHODS: Forty male beer drinkers were observed in a bar. According to a random distribution, patrons were exposed to the usual level of environmental music played in 2 bars where the experiment was carried out or were exposed to a high level.

RESULTS: The results show that high level volume led to increase alcohol consumption and reduced the average amount of time spent by the patrons to drink their glass.

CONCLUSIONS: The impact of environmental music on consumption was discussed and the “arousal” hypothesis and the negative effect of loud music on social interaction were used to explain our results.

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For a sample of related Situationist posts, see “Just Me and My Friend, Sony,” “Alcohol, Hotdogs, Sexism, and Racism,” “What Our Exterior Situation Reveals About Our Interior Situation,” “Susan Boyle and the Situation of Sound,” “The Situation of Music,” “The Situation of the Dreaded ‘Freshman 15’,” The Science of Songs Stuck in Your Head,” and “Investing in Vice,”

Posted in Abstracts, Choice Myth, Food and Drug Law, Life, Marketing | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

The Situation of Music

Posted by The Situationist Staff on May 1, 2008

Situationist PodcastFrom Radiolab: Pop Music

Abstract: Why do some songs mercilessly stick in our heads and repeat themselves over and over? What makes these hooks so hooky? And how does a songwriter will a song forth from the ether? Nightmarish stories of musical hallucinations, songs that transcend language, and the triumphant return of the Elvis of Afghanistan.

Listen to show by clicking here.

For a related Situationist post, see “The Science of Songs Stuck in Your Head.”

Posted in Life, Podcasts | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

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