March 2015 - News!

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Recent Publications

  • Just published  by Mary Gick and Jennifer Nicol, co-investigators in sub-theme 3.3:   

    Gick, M. L.  & Nicol, J. J. (2015).  Singing for respiratory health: theory, evidence and challenges.  Health Promotion International, 2015, 1-10. doi: 10.1093/heapro/dav013

    The premise that singing is a health promoting activity for people with respiratory conditions of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma is a growing area of interest being investigated by researchers from various disciplines. The preliminary evidence, a theoretical framework and identification of methodological challenges are discussed in this perspective article with an eye to recommendations for further research to advance knowledge. After a brief summary of main research findings on singing in healthy people to provide background context, research is reviewed on singing in people with COPD and asthma. Studies include published research and as yet unpublished work by the authors. Methodological challenges arising from the reviewed studies are identified such as attrition from singing or control groups based on weak and strong, respectively, beliefs about singing’s effectiveness. Potential solutions for these problems are considered with further recommendations made for other singing research.   LINK

  • Weiss MW, Schellenberg EG, Trehub SE, Dawber EJ, Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Enhanced processing of vocal melodies in childhoodDev Psychol 2015 Mar;51(3):370-7

    Music cognition is typically studied with instrumental stimuli. Adults remember melodies better, however, when they are presented in a biologically significant timbre (i.e., the human voice) than in various instrumental timbres (Weiss, Trehub, & Schellenberg, 2012). We examined the impact of vocal timbre on children's processing of melodies. In Study 1, 9- to 11-year-olds listened to 16 unfamiliar folk melodies (4 each of voice, piano, banjo, or marimba). They subsequently listened to the same melodies and 16 timbre-matched foils, and judged whether each melody was old or new.  Vocal melodies were recognized better than instrumental melodies, which did not differ from one another, and the vocal advantage was consistent across age. In Study 2, 5- to 6-year-olds and 7- to 8-year-olds were tested with a simplified design that included only vocal and piano melodies.  Both age groups successfully differentiated old from new melodies, but memory was more accurate for the older group. The older children recognized vocal melodies better than piano melodies, whereas the younger children tended to label vocal melodies as old whether they were old or new. The results provide the first evidence of differential processing of vocal and instrumental melodies in childhood.   LINK




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