A blog about a first-time house owner learning to maintain his backyard, and thoughts about nature, science, history, and life.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Music and Driving

First, a quick update on the creek, which remains swollen with meltwater.  The dock is completely covered by about 3 inches of water - which makes it about 2 inches higher than it was late yesterday afternoon.  I think that the creek actually peaked overnight, and I expect it to slowly recede over the course of the day today.  It has turned cold and windy out there, with temperatures back down into the 30s, after a warm and humid weekend.  The rain gauge had just a trace of precipitation (rain) from the passage of the cold front and a pre-frontal rainband earlier this morning.  The cold front passed our area around 5:00 am.

Next, to the topic of this post: music and driving.  I recently found a blog post by a psychologist in the UK who looked at the music people listen to in the car and how it relates to their driving habits.  Younger people are more likely to listen to loud heavy metal music and also more likely to exhibit aggressive driving.  This is accompanied by the point that louder, faster music can distract drivers from the road and lead to more aggressive driving.

Jazz listeners were most likely to report a speeding fine.  In the UK, many of these speeding fines are doled out by speeding cameras, not by state troopers or sheriffs as in the US.  Jazz listeners tended to travel longer distances than listeners of other genres.

Reggae listeners tend to listen to the music to keep them alert, and they reported the most near-misses of any genre.

To close this post, I'll quote from the original blog post and link to it so that you can read the whole thing. 
"What music is good for driving? Music listening in cars has both potential benefits and costs. Both of these effects are driven by two main factors; 1) the intrinsic qualities of the music and 2) personal experience and preferences. To explain these in more detail;

1) Music that contains lyrics is potentially more distracting than instrumental music. We know that verbal-based materials interfere more with other everyday tasks such as reading and playing computer games.
2) Music that is louder and more complex (contains more key changes, more erratic rhythms, more layered textures, and more instruments/voices) is likely to be more distracting.
3) Music that is unfamiliar is more likely to be distracting compared to tunes we know well.
4) Not liking the music in our environment can negatively influence our concentration."

Here's the original blog post: http://musicpsychology.co.uk/music-and-driving/

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