Composing Music to Shape Mind-Wandering Episodes

Have you ever thought about the possibility of composing music that can influence the way we think?

I have recently addressed this question with the help of a group of musicians. Our recent study on the influence of sad and happy music on mind-wandering and default mode network turned into an exciting, collaborative project with Disquiet – an online music community. Each Thursday in the Disquiet community, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. I asked musicians to work on two tasks: The first was to compose a short piece of music that decreases our mind’s tendency to wander, while the second to compose a music piece that enhances mind-wandering episodes. The rationale was to use musical/acoustic features that convey and evoke happiness and sadness in the listener, since in our study we demonstrate that happy music is associated with lower mind-wandering levels, while sad music with higher levels (shown both behaviorally and with neuroimaging methods).

Curious about the results of this “experiment”?

Here you can cheComposing Music to Shape Mind-Wandering Episodesck the instructions we gave to the musicians and listen to the Soundcloud playlist with all the mind-wandering reducing tracks that were created.

Here instead you can check the instructions and listen to the Soundcloud playlist with all the mind-wandering increasing pieces.

This collaboration with Disquiet is an exciting example of one possible way in which research can transform into art!


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