Humans Not The Only Animal to Respond Emotionally to Music

( — Music is one of the surest ways to influence human emotions; most people unconsciously recognize and respond to music that is happy, sad, fearful or mellow. But psychologists who have tried to trace the evolutionary roots of these responses usually hit a dead end. Nonhuman primates scarcely respond to human music, and instead prefer silence.

A new report by Charles Snowdon, a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and musician David Teie of the University of Maryland shows that a monkey called the cotton-top tamarin indeed responds to . The catch? These South American are essentially immune to human music, but they respond appropriately to “monkey music,” 30-second clips composed by Teie on the basis of actual monkey calls.

The music was inspired by sounds the tamarins make to convey two opposite emotions: threats and/or fear, and affiliation, a friendly, safe and happy condition.’

For full article and a short clip of what the ‘monkey music’ sounds like, click link below

Keep smiling!

John Schinnerer, Ph.D.

Guide To Self, Inc.

When I’m Up I Can’t Get Down – Great video to boost resiliency and mood

As you know, I write occasionally about the effect of music on our mood and emotions. Here is a wonderful, bouncy song by Great Big Sea that has a strong chance of lifting your spirits, buoying your mood and making you smile. It doesn’t get much better. Enjoy!

A Wonderful Wednesday to You All!

John Schinnerer, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology Coach, Entrepreneur, Author, Radio Show Personality, National Keynote Speaker

More Working Memory Means Less Distractibility; Better Focus Means More Fluid IQ

Science Daily – “Based on a study of 84 students divided into four separate experiments, University of Oregon researchers found that students with high memory storage capacity were clearly better able to ignore distractions and stay focused on their assigned tasks.

Principal investigator Edward K. Vogel, a UO professor of psychology, compares working memory to a computer’s random-access memory (RAM) rather than the hard drive’s size — the higher the RAM, the better processing abilities. With more RAM, he said, students were better able to ignore distractions. This notion surfaced in a 2005 paper in Nature by Vogel and colleagues in the Oregon Visual Working Memory & Attention Lab.

Vogel is quick to say that the findings don’t necessarily signify problems for an easily distracted person, although people who hold their focus more intensely tend to have higher fluid intelligence; they score higher on achievement tests, do better in math and learn second languages easier than peers who are captured by interruptions. Vogel currently is working with other UO researchers to explore if the easily distracted indeed have a positive side, such as in artistic creativity and imagination.

The IPS, Vogel said, acts as a pointer system that seeks out goal-related cues, and it possibly is the gateway for memory circuitry in the brain.

“Our attention is the continual interplay between what our goals are and what the environment is trying to dictate to us,” Vogel said. “Often, to be able to complete complex and important goal-directed behavior, we need to be able to ignore salient but irrelevant things, such as advertisements flashing around an article you are trying to read on a computer screen. We found that some people are really good at overriding attention capture, and other people have a difficult time unhooking from it and are really susceptible to irrelevant stimuli.”

Vogel theorizes that people who are good at staying on focus have a good gatekeeper, much like a bouncer or ticket-taker hired to allow only approved people into a nightclub or concert. Understanding how to improve the gatekeeper component, he said, could lead to therapies that help easily distracted people better process what information is allowed in initially, rather than attempting to teach people how to force more information into their memory banks.”

Original story here

 Always something to think about!

 Wonderfully yours,

John Schinnerer, Ph.D.


Bobby McFerrin Hacks Into The Mind Using Audiences’ Voices, Imaginary Piano, Pentatonic Scale

The human brain comes preconfigured for music, specifically the pentatonic scale. Music has a powerful sway over our momentary emotions, our longer-lasting moods and the thoughts that spring forth in unison with them.

This wiring for music appears to exist throughout the world despite the facts that some musical scales vary by culture.


John Schinnerer, Ph.D.
Music and psychology

Antidepressant Use Up 75 Percent

By Psych Central News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on August 3, 2009

Antidepressant Use Up 75 Percent

A new study has found that antidepressant drug use in the United States has gone up 75 percent, from 5.84 percent of the population to 10.12 percent.

The new study, published in the August issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, looked at drug prescriptions from 1996 to 2005 in the U.S. Antidepressant use increased significantly across all age, gender and racial groups, except African Americans.

The data also shows a more than 10 percent decline in the use of psychotherapy amongst people treated with antidepressants, while at the same time showing a significant increase in the use of antipsychotic medications as a co-treatment to antidepressant therapy.

For the whole article, click here

Wow, that’s a big increase in antidepressants with a simultaneous decrease in therapy! A sign of the times, I suppose. We are the quick fix people. In my opinion, the best solution to most severe cases of stress, anxiety and depression is a combination of medication and therapy.

Have a fantastic day!

John Schinnerer, Ph.D.

Guide To Self, Inc.