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Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna, August 22-26 2006
Dr. Mark Lammers
Dr. Mark Kruger
opment of the self, social bonding, and motivation (Bluck, Memories for musical experiences among adults associated 2003; Pillemer, 2003). Because music is a pervasive part of with a symphony orchestra either as a professional per- most individuals’ lives (Sloboda & O’Neill, 2001) and mu- former, as an amateur performer, or as a member of an sic has been connected to peak emotional experiences audience were examined in order to explore the content (Lowis, 1998; Gabrielson, 2001), it is interesting to ask if and function of autobiographical memories. Transcripts memory for musical experience is similar to other autobio- for early, strong, and practice related memories were com- graphical memories and whether it differs as a function of puter coded for number of words and proportions of cogni- musical expertise. Our study examines memory for musical tion, emotion, and social relationship words. Although full- experiences among adults associated with a symphony or- time musicians, civic orchestra members, and audience chestra either professionally, as an amateur member of a members did not differ in reported ease of recall, perform- civic orchestra, or as a member of the audience in order to ers produced longer narratives (p < .05). Performers used explore the content and function of autobiographical proportionately more words associated with insight, espe- cially in their narratives about practice. Gender, but not Research that has been done on music and autobiographical expertise, influenced the use of emotion words (p < .05). memory has focused on the ability of music to cue recall for events from the past and/or the impact of emotion on Keywords
memory. For example, Schulkind, Hennis, and Rubin (1999) found that music, which was popular from an indi- Autobiographical Memory, Musical Development, Expertise. vidual’s adolescence and early adult years, serves as an INTRODUCTION
effective cue to autobiographical memory. This is espe-cially true for older adults when the music is associated Autobiographical memory is believed to aid in the devel- with emotion. In another study, Ashley and Luce (2004) In: M. Baroni, A. R. Addessi, R. Caterina, M. Costa (2006) Proceedings compared the autobiographical memories which college of the 9th International Conference on Music Perception & Cognition students produced in response to a musical selection or an (ICMPC9), Bologna/Italy, August 22-26 2006.2006 The Society for Music Perception & Cognition (SMPC) and European Society for the object or memento that they associated with their high Cognitive Sciences of Music (ESCOM). Copyright of the content of an school years. Individuals chose their own musical selection individual paper is held by the primary (first-named) author of that pa- or memento. Musical selections cued autobiographical per. All rights reserved. No paper from this proceedings may be repro- memories with stronger emotional content, measured duced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or me-chanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information physiologically (skin temperature and blood pulse ampli- retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the paper's primary tude) than did mementos, but mementos produced more author. No other part of this proceedings may be reproduced or transmit- ted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information retrieval system, without Are the autobiographical memories of musicians influenced permission in writing from SMPC and ESCOM. by their expertise and avocation? Kruger, Lammers, and Ackil (2004) asked professional symphony musicians, was 46.3. The mean age of the older audience group was members of a civic orchestra, and members of a symphony 70.7. Eighty-three percent of the audience members re- audience to write descriptions of three memories: an early ported that they had studied an instrument at some time experience, a very strong or memorable experience, and a during their life. Twenty-two percent reported that they meaningful experience associated with practicing an in- currently performed in an ensemble and were excluded strument. Each participant was also asked how old they from further analysis. The analyses reported in this paper were at the time of each event they recalled and a series of compare the 20 full time professionals, 17 members of a questions about their emotional/motivational responses, civic orchestra, and 26 adult audience members under the about the social context, and whether this was a memory that they either reflected on themselves or sometimes shared with others. Professional musicians were more Procedure
likely to report that they had shared memories of their early Each participant wrote short descriptions of three types of experiences with others and that the early experience they musical experiences- an early experience, a very strong or recalled had motivated them to perform. Full-time mem- memorable experience, and a meaningful experience asso- bers were also more likely to say their memory for a strong ciated with practicing an instrument. After writing their experience motivated their subsequent performance. Per- descriptions, each participant was asked how old they were formers (professionals and civic orchestra members) as at the time of the remembered event and a series of ques- opposed to audience members were more likely to describe tions about their emotional/motivational responses, about a strong memory as one in which they played in an ensem- the social context, and whether this was a memory that they either reflected on themselves or sometimes shared with Pennebaker, Mehl, and Niederhoffer (2003) argue that others. All participants were asked to indicate the age at analysis of word choice in spoken or written discourse can which they first studied a musical instrument and what in- be a reliable and valid method of measuring individual dif- ferences, the impact of social contexts on motivation and emotion, and the outcomes of therapeutic interventions. Autobiographical memories for musical experiences were Their approach is to search text for over 2300 words that assessed using the Pennebaker, Francis, and Booth (2001) have been associated with one of 70 linguistic categories of Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count software. Each narra- words. Unlike, coding schemes that require judgments tive was coded for number of words, for the proportion of about the meaning of a narrative, this approach relies on positive and negative emotion words, for the proportion of looking for pronouns, articles, prepositions, emotion words cognition words related to causality and insight, and for the and cognition words that suggest causality, abstraction, and proportion of words related to social relationships. time. Pennebaker, Francis, and Booth (2001) developed a software system, Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC 2001) that can be used to analyze text. The impact of expertise, type of event recalled, and gender The present study reports the analysis of the autobiographi- on total number of words, the proportion of emotion words cal memories for early, strong, and practice related events (positive and negative), the proportion of cognition words, using the LIWC software system. Based on subjects self- and the proportion of social relationship words used in descriptions of their memories, we decided to examine dif- each narrative was assessed using a three (Expertise: pro- ferences in the emotions associated with individual memo- fessional, amateur, audience) by three (Event: early, strong, ries, the extent to which social relationships were important practice) by two (Gender: male, female) ANOVA with one in the experiences recalled, the extent to which memories repeated measure (Event). Although full-time musicians, were tied to cognitions related to cause and insight to de- civic orchestra members, and audience members did not termine the extent to which memories are tied to life chang- differ in reported ease of recall, performers produced longer narratives than members of the audience (F(2, 58)=3.96, p < .03, eta2=.12). This effect can be seen in Fig- ure 1, which includes the older audience members. There Participants
was also a main effect for the type of event recalled, F(2, 116)=4.22, p < .02, eta2=.07. Post-hoc tests indicate a sig- Twenty full-time symphony musicians, eighteen adult nificant (p<.05) differences between the number of words members of a civic orchestra, and seventy-two adult mem- in the strong experience event and practice related event. bers of a concert audience served as participants in this study. The audience was divided into two age groups, those under the median audience age of 62 and those over the median audience age. The first audience group had an av-erage age of 49.8. The average age of the professional musicians was 43.6 and the average age of the amateurs Neither expertise nor type of event recalled produced sig-nificant differences in the proportion of emotion words, the DISCUSSION
proportion of positive emotion words, or the proportion of These results extend our earlier findings that professional negative emotion words. A main effect for gender was musicians are more likely to report events they found moti- found in the proportion of negative emotion words used vating, events they continued to share with others, and (F(1,58)=4.14, p < .05, eta2=.07). The mean proportion of events involving ensemble performance. Expertise in- negative emotion words was 1.23 (standard error = .17) for creases use of words associated with cognitive mecha- females and .66 (standard error= .22) for males. nisms. This may reflect an abstraction of experience. Ob-served gender differences are consistent with other research A main effect for type of event recalled on the number of on autobiographical memories (Bauer, Stennes, and Haight, social relationship words used (F(2,116)=10.88, p<.001, eta2=.16). The means and standard errors for the early, strong, and practice related events were 7.23(.62), ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
4.88(.57), and 3.39(.67) respectively. Neither expertise nor Special thanks to Diane Pope, Dr. Jennifer Ackil, and two gender produced significant differences in the proportion of our students at Gustavus Adolphus College, Eric of words associated with social relationships. Wilberg and Keri Asp, for their help with this project. Expertise produced differences (p < .05) in the proportion of REFERENCES
(F(2,58)=3.19, p<05, eta2=.10). A similar effect was found for words associated with insight (F(2,58)=4.63, p<02, Ashley, R. & Luce, K. (2004) Music, autobiographical eta2=.14). Performers used proportionately more words memory, and emotion. In S.D. Libscomb, R. Ashley, R.O. associated with insight, especially in their narratives about Gjerdingen, & P. Webster (Eds.) Proceedings of the 8th practice. The means are confidence intervals are shown in International Conference on Music Perception and Cogni- tion, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. Bauer, P.J. (2003). Representation of inner self in autobi-ography: Women’s and men’s use of internal state lan-guage in personal narratives. Memory, 11(1), 27.42. Bluck, S. (2003). Autobiographical memory: Exploring its functions in everyday life. Memory, 11(2), 113-123. Gabrielson, A. (2001). Emotions in strong experiences with music. In P.N. Juslin & J.A. Sloboda (Eds.), Music and Emotion: Theory and research (pp. 431-449). New York: Oxford University Press. Kruger, M., Lammers, M. & Ackil, J. (2004) Autobio-graphical memory for musical experiences. In S.D. Lib- scomb, R. Ashley, R.O. Gjerdingen, & P. Webster (Eds.) Pillemer, D.B. (2003). Directive functions of autobio- Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Music graphical memory: The guiding power of the specific epi- Perception and Cognition, Northwestern University, Schulkind, M.D., Hennis, L.K., & Rubin, D.C. (1999) Mu- Lowis, M.J. (1998) Music and peak experiences. The Man- sic, emotion, and autobiographical memory: They’re play- ing your song. Memory and Cognition, 27(6), 948-955. Pennebaker, J.W., Francis, M.E., & Booth, R.J. (2001). Sloboda, J.A. & O’Neill, S.A. (2001) Emotions in every- Linguistic inquiry and word count (LIWC): LIWC 2001. day listening to music. In P.N. Juslin & J.A. Sloboda (Eds.), Music and Emotion: Theory and research (pp. 415-429). New York: Oxford University Press. Pennebaker, J.W., Mehl, M.R., & Niederhoffer, K.G. (2003). Psychological aspects of natural language use: Our words, our selves. Annual Review of Psychology, 54, 547-577.


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