Sounds effect on measurable signs of stress in a framework of terrorist attacks

This topic submitted by Marissa Grier, Adam Haigh, Susie Quilligan, Aaron Schielke ( at 11:39 am on 10/11/01. Additions were last made on Friday, April 19, 2002. Section: Myers

Our Idea is to measure the physical stress effects, heart-rate and breath-rate, that a viewer exhibits when shown video images of terrorist acts and the results of terrorist acts with a variation between no sound accompaniment as opposed to music, testimonials about an attack, and sounds of an attack. We plan to compile a 24 minute movie, which will be divided into 4 minute sections. For approximately half of the sampled population the 1st, 3rd, and 5th segments will be silent, with the 2nd segment being accompanied by music, the 4th by speech, and the 6th by action sounds. We plan to test the effects of each of these audio accompaniments on the physical manifestations of stress, namely breath-rate and heart rate. One concern, which we had, was that it might be the content of the video that was causing stress and not the audio. In order to take this into account the second half of the sampled population would be shown the same video but this time the 2nd, 4th, and 6th segments would be silent, and the 1st, 3rd, and 5th segments will be accompanied by music, speech, and action sounds. We hope to find that the addition of audio to the silent video will increase the stress upon which the subjects are placed. And that music, speech, and action sounds produce different amounts of stress for the subjects. The audio in all three of these cases for both groups sampled will not be designed to compliment the video in any way as to insure the stress we measure is due to the audio alone. We were also concerned with subjects who may have seen the terrorist acts that we will show before; they may therefore have acquired a kind of emotional fatigue associated with these images, which could render our test invalid. Therefore we are planning to use a range of footage from not only these most recent terrorist acts but also ones from around the world and throughout the century.


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