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Meditation and Sports Enhancers
Posted: 09 August 2012 05:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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You are in the wrong thread, macgyver.  grin I would obviously never try to dispute that Bach, or kinesiology tape, or prayer, or meditation can work on everyone. Indeed, anyone claiming that is a charlatan.

What I do wonder, though—and I’ll have to repeat myself once again—is if these things can work on some people. This is why I brought up the podcast discussion on meditation, since I believe meditation can have such an effect on some people. I am not convinced as Andrew is, though, that meditation or rhythm are necessarily different from the kinesiology tape—actually I’ll just call it a “blue tape,” as “kinesiology tape” sounds to me like that"pneumatology” thing, or IOW, a BS.

Can anyone please address my point on the possibility of prayer being effective in helping a soccer player score a goal? Because if it is (in the example only I gave above), then blue tape can be equally effective in some people. And if it prayer isn’t effective in that way, then meditation can never be effective either. Either both blue tape and mediation stay, or they both (along with my belief that Bach can help me work more efficiently) have to go.

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Posted: 09 August 2012 05:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Now, as a musician, and especially as a jazz musician, I do essentially exactly this (except with some more elements added) every time I play music with someone. It’s part of what makes music making joyous.

Benefits? A couple of years ago I remember reading an article claiming that people who could tap out rhythms more accurately (to thousandths of a second) scored, on average, higher on IQ tests. Is that a cause or an effect? I think that it’s a bit of both: highly intelligent people have an easier time tapping out very precise rhythms, but practicing this activity can also help boost intelligence and concentration.

Is wearing a Power Bracelet an active mental activity like what I just described? I don’t think so

I concur with that completely Andrew. As a drummer, jazz, rock and military, I keep a constant rhythm in my head from waking to sleep. My wife often complains that I tap out cadences constantly depending on the occasion. And while I don’t practice meditation, several close friends still do. They learned the discipline in the 70’s. I find that concentrating on hobbies calms my mind and focuses me on the project at hand. It relieves my stress and gives a sense of accomplishment when the project is finished. We have NO vista like GdB’s ( you could pretty much get lost in that photograph!), but we do have a large lake near here and for solitude I occasionally take a canoe out and just listen.

Also, IMO, music does enhance the brain in a positive way. Of course choice is a personal decision. FI, I do like certain forms of rap because of it’s rhymic patterns but I listen to other forms of folk music, mainly Irish harp music (O’Carolan) when working on a project or just chillin’. I find Bach inspiring and uplifting, especially the Brandenburg Concerto and Pachalbel’s Canon in D. And as music has been part of human existence for thousands of years, I couint this as having an impact on the brain more than wearing a bracelet or duck tape which BTW is only supposed to effect certain muscles as I understand from the post. Also, music is really cheap these days and you can download hundreds of tunes for a few bucks.

 

http://www.npr.org/2011/06/01/136859090/the-power-of-music-to-affect-the-brain


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Posted: 09 August 2012 05:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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To be clear, I am talking about actively participating in music-making somehow, and NOT just passively listening to it. While listening to good music is certainly pleasing, there is no research showing that merely listening to it improves brain performance.

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Posted: 09 August 2012 05:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Again, George, I don’t think anyone is disagreeing with the idea that using something which a person believes will enhance some aspect of their performance can result in better performance, since after all athletic perfomance is hevaily influence by the state of mind. If a gymnast feels she performs better while wearing magic tape, it is quite possible she does. (Though I will remind everyone of the Hot Hand Myth, in which people imagine their performance is better than usual when it actually isn’t, so it is also possible that the gymnast’s feeling that she performs better with the tape is mistaken).

The issue isn’t whether superstitious behavior improves performance through psychological effects. It is whether one can legitimately assign the credit for any improvement (real or imagined) to the fetish object or the ritual itself, which would be a justification for making claims about its effects. If the effect is an illusion, then the tape obviously doesn’t work. But if there is a real imprvement in performance due to the psychological effects of belief, expectancy, reduced anxiety, etc, then the tape still doesn’t “work” in the sense that it has any intrinsic benefitial properties. The benefit is coming from the mind of the person experiencing it, and this could just as easily come from some other source. The only way to know if the tape itself is doing anything is a properly controlled study. Maybe meditation actually does change my overall well being or my behavior. Or maybe regular naps would work just as well. I’m happy picking one over the other without knowing for sure. But I’m still going to argue with anyone who sells meditation with positive claims of behavioral benefits not supported by real empirical data.

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Posted: 09 August 2012 05:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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TromboneAndrew - 09 August 2012 05:27 PM

While listening to good music is certainly pleasing, there is no research showing that merely listening to it improves brain performance.

Agreed, but just like D., G. and B. know that mediation helps to calm them, I know some music does help me to concentrate and I wonder if some superstitious beliefs, like the blue tape, can help some people to perform more effectively as it also calms them and allows them to direct their focus elsewhere. That’s all.

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Posted: 09 August 2012 05:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Quoting TromboneAndrew:

While listening to good music is certainly pleasing, there is no research showing that merely listening to it improves brain performance.

  Maybe not, but I certainly know that if I’m forced to listen to bad music, my brain performance goes all to hell.  LOL

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Posted: 09 August 2012 05:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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mckenzievmd - 09 August 2012 05:31 PM

The issue isn’t whether superstitious behavior improves performance through psychological effects.

Well, it is for me. (And I do now agree with Doug that I shouldn’t have brought it up in the other thread as macgyver’s focus was on something else.)

We know that prayer or “being positive” don’t help to cure cancer, but we simply don’t have the same knowledge regarding the blue tape (or music, or meditation) and its effectiveness in adjusting our mental state with the possibility of impact in some other specific behaviour.

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Posted: 09 August 2012 06:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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George - 09 August 2012 05:41 PM
TromboneAndrew - 09 August 2012 05:27 PM

While listening to good music is certainly pleasing, there is no research showing that merely listening to it improves brain performance.

Agreed, but just like D., G. and B. know that mediation helps to calm them, I know some music does help me to concentrate and I wonder if some superstitious beliefs, like the blue tape, can help some people to perform more effectively as it also calms them and allows them to direct their focus elsewhere. That’s all.

Sure. Also, even if listening to the music in of itself doesn’t have measurable benefit, being more relaxed, however you get there, definitely has measurable short-term benefits. Listening to Bach certainly is one of the better ways to relax. smile

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Posted: 09 August 2012 06:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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George - 09 August 2012 05:41 PM

Agreed, but just like D., G. and B. know that mediation helps to calm them, I know some music does help me to concentrate and I wonder if some superstitious beliefs, like the blue tape, can help some people to perform more effectively as it also calms them and allows them to direct their focus elsewhere. That’s all.

Possibly, though the Power Balance has been tested and shown to be completely ineffective at its stated aims. (Though I don’t believe it was supposed to calm). I tend to doubt that something as simple and brainless as sticking on a piece of colored tape, or slipping on a plastic bracelet, is really going to make any significant difference to anything, other than the wallet of the person selling them.

At least listening to Bach or doing a meditation sitting is a lengthy enterprise, one filled with mental activity and focus for those who are interested. For those who are not, clearly neither Bach nor meditation would do a whit of good, except maybe put them to sleep.

And GdB has a gorgeous place to sit and contemplate the countryside. I can hardly think of a better place just to sit still with nature.

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Posted: 09 August 2012 06:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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It’s interesting that many people find music to be beneficial while they work.

I have never liked music while I work, and I’ve always been able to tune it out while working.

What everyone here is describing, is just a kind of psychological crutch; whether it’s music,meditation,bracelets,standing on one foot.  It’s not really about rationality, yet we skeptics want it to be rational.

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Posted: 09 August 2012 07:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Those are all good points, Doug, Andrew and Brennen. Thanks for the discussion.

And BTW, I enjoyed the podcast as well. Who would have thought that GdB had such a deep voice?  grin And your English, GdB, is even better when you talk. I am envious.

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Posted: 09 August 2012 07:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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To be clear, I am talking about actively participating in music-making somehow, and NOT just passively listening to it. While listening to good music is certainly pleasing, there is no research showing that merely listening to it improves brain performance.

Uh, Andrew, did you read my post? It’s all about how music improves brain performance. Or do you disagree with the article? There’s more out there. And I do actively participate in music making as well as listening, which I find equally stimulating.


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Posted: 09 August 2012 07:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 09 August 2012 07:07 PM

To be clear, I am talking about actively participating in music-making somehow, and NOT just passively listening to it. While listening to good music is certainly pleasing, there is no research showing that merely listening to it improves brain performance.

Uh, Andrew, did you read my post? It’s all about how music improves brain performance. Or do you disagree with the article? There’s more out there. And I do actively participate in music making as well as listening, which I find equally stimulating.

Cap’t Jack

Yes, I did read it, and I think that there is needed a clear distinction between passive and active musical activity and the effects on the brain. Passively, music has never been shown to provide long-term benefits, and short-term benefits are basically the same as becoming more relaxed. Actively participating in music, though - that helps to build brains. Too often, people talking about music and mental effects mis-mash between active and passive music participation, and they should not be confused if we want to be clear about effects.

While I’m on the subject, if I am not mistaken, meditating effectively almost always involves establishing a breathing rhythm. Coordinate that with your heart beat, and you are doing something extremely similar to what I described a page earlier by tapping a pencil with a metronome, only you’re paying more attention to things internal to your body instead of extermal.

[ Edited: 09 August 2012 07:22 PM by TromboneAndrew ]
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Posted: 09 August 2012 07:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Here’s another one that discusses not only the effects of playing music but listening as well.


http://www.cracked.com/article_18405_7-insane-ways-music-affects-body-according-to-science.html

Number 5 specifically mentions the changes that occur in the brain by listening. BTW I’m not just listening to my internal metronome but the incessant pecking on any object that will make a sound until my wife goes bonkers and screams for me to stop. Funny you should mention heartbeats. I was a drummer for several powwows (for want of a better word) and Plains music mimics a human heartbeat. The very same rhythm

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Posted: 09 August 2012 07:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Yes, Jack, those are both interesting articles. I must say, though, that when I had my two older boys participate in a similar study at McMaster University in Hamilton through their psychology department, I became quickly skeptical of the whole thing. They wanted to see if kids who play a musical instrument—my boys play the piano—would become more “cognitively developed” (i.e., smarter) compared with kids who never received a musical education. The study was so poorly done that I wouldn’t even know where to begin to criticize it.

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