ICMPC / ESCOM movement and earworms

There is something special in watching the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Greece, narrated in Greek. Just as there was something special in the discussion about politics and democracy that we had a couple of nights ago, under the Greek sky having after-dinner drinks.

The conference is soon drawing to a close, there’s one more day left. My work here is done, the poster was presented already on Wednesday and today I presented the other paper I was involved with. I’m quite happy with how they went, I had lots of nice discussions about the poster, and good questions about the paper. Add to that the effect that the conference with its various deadlines has on getting the work done, and the end result is very positive, indeed.

Although the technical difficulties I had at the beginning of the session were not fun. I have a new Macbook Air and I assumed I could just plug in the projector without problems – did not get a picture at all. Luckily the session was chaired by a colleague who was kind enough to borrow me his computer for the presentation. The organisers have PC’s, my show is on Keynote and even though I tried I didn’t get any of my videos to work in their systems. I was surprised to see this problem, usually everything “just works”. Well, turns out this is an Air issue. Damn if I really have to reboot the computer if I want to connect to a projector!?! Firmware update, Apple, pretty please…

Anyway, back to the substance. There have been a few emerging themes in this year’s conference. It has been interesting to see how more and more people are using motion capture to study music-related questions. Music is a social, embodied activity, and also the social aspects and social effects are getting more attention. Motion capture is clearly becoming more available and it seems that quite a few labs are using the MoCap Toolbox written by Petri Toiviainen and Birgitta Burger. So they’ve accelerated research quite a lot by making that tool and sharing it with everyone else. Great!

It is also a sign of the times that mentioning EEG, ERP, MEG, fMRI or other brain research methods no longer automatically assigns you for a special session on neuroscience and music, but rather you get slotted in a session that deals with the topic of your study. One way to think about this is that more or less everyone is expected to understand the basics and follow those presentations.

There have been a couple of sessions on earworms, or involuntary musical imagery. “Why do some songs get stuck in your head” has been my example question for a number of years now, when I’ve needed an example of something that music psychology studies. Now, the answer starts to form.  THere have been studies on many aspects of this phenomenon, I’ll return to these in more detail in a later post.

Now it’s time to light the olympic fire at the Olympic stadium in London.

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