Motion Capture As a Means of Research

Thursday’s lecture focused primarily on methods and research in music psychology, which is a topic I have looked forward to all week. I’ve always been interested in how music could affect an individual’s mind, body, and cognitive abilities. In the morning, we completed a psychological experiment of sorts, where we rated the expressivity of a musician, either by listening, watching them play (via a video of motion capture), or both. I found the experiment really interesting since everyone in the class seemed to have different answers, so everyone had a different perception about what was expressive, based on audio or visuals.

We spent the afternoon in the motion capture lab, where a few students in the class actually got to dance with the reflectors on (the objects that help the 8 cameras in the room create the motion capture video). It was cool to see the experts in action as they showed us how the system works, from how the cameras work to making the dots in the motion capture footage look like stick figures.

Motion capture, as I understood from the presentation, is mainly utilized for research concerning why people react to music the way they do, in addition to expressivity for musicians. When used in research settings, this kind of technology can help scientifically determine why certain people react the way they do when they are in a musical environment. This was elaborated upon in Friday’s lecture, in which we discussed different music psychology research studies and their findings. We learned that people with different personalities are more likely to be more expressive when moving to music, with extraverts being more likely to dance more freely and introverts remaining very reserved. Overall, research studies involving an individual’s reactions and activities in a musical environment have always interested me, since it gives me a different perspective about my main course of study. I know that learning this is only the beginning, and I hope to learn more on my own time.

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