This study looks at the relationship between exercise, music and the perception of time. Specifically it seeks to determine the effect, if any, that different types of music have on perception of time while exercising.
Two models exist of how elapsed time is estimated (Coren et al., 1999):
- Biological timer
- Cognitive clock
The biological timer is an internal pacemaker which assesses flow of time. Its speed can be affected by numerous physiological factors, for example, body temperature (Hoagland, 1933; Baddeley, 1966) or fatigue (Aschoff, 1984). Any factor which results in the deceleration or acceleration of this pacemaker changes the perception of time.
In the cognitive clock model, perceived time is based upon the mental processes occurring during that period. In this way time is constructed rather than perceived. Different cognitive variables affect the speed of the cognitive clock and therefore the perceived length of time (Coren et al., 1999).
- Number of events occurring during interval
- Complexity of events
- Type of cognitive processing required
- Amount of attention given to the passage of time
In the parallel processing model (Schmidt and Wrisberg, 2000) the central nervous system has finite processing capacity, so if an individual is attending to the stimulus of music, attending to the cues of fatigue or discomfort as a result of exercise is proscribed. However, this may depend on the attention-capturing ability of the distracting stimulus.
Research into listening to music while exercising has mostly been directed towards the motivational effect of music and the different factors which contribute to his effect.
Researchers have looked at music that falls into two broad categories: fast, high tempo upbeat music and a slower, low tempo relaxed type. These two music types evoke polar responses from people at a motivational level with consequent effects on rate of perceived exertion (Szmedra and Bacharach, 1998), willingness to work at higher intensities (Elliott et al., 2004) and length of time to exhaustion (Szabo et al., 1999). It has not however been investigated if there is an accompanying distortion of the individuals perceived length of time spent exercising.
There is a dearth of research on the effects music has on an exerciser’s perception of time spent exercising. This study aims to examine what effect, if any, music has on an individual’s perceived length of exercise period and more specifically, if different types of music alter this perception. Perception of time is altered by exercise, this effect is standardised by maintaining equal relative workloads for participants and by analysing the two music conditions relative to a perceived time spent exercising and not actual elapsed time.
The three experimental conditions are; no music control, low tempo/downbeat music and fast, high tempo/upbeat music. Priest et al.(2004) reported “dance” music to be the preferred music type for a 16-26 age group while Copeland and Franks(1991) defined high tempo music as being in excess of 140 beats per minute (BPM) and low tempo as having 100 BPM or less. Accordingly a fast and a slow “dance” music track were selected with 144 BPM and 100 BPM respectively.
- The dependent variable is the participants’ perception of exercise duration, measured in seconds.
- The pool from which the participants were drawn comprised seventeen sports science students, of which ten were selected on a random basis.
- Statistical tests were selected on the basis of the data being classified as parametric, the research design being experimental, repeated measures, with three conditions.
The ANOVA presented that the variation between conditions was not significant (0.05) as such the conclusion was made that there were no significant differences between any of the experimental conditions.
Therefore accepting the null hypothesis stating:
There will be no difference in perception of time spent exercising when exercising while listening to high temps, low tempo, or no music.
The hypothesis was presented that:
Perception of time spent exercising will be significantly less when exercising while listening to high tempo music compared with a no music control.
Pair-wise comparison utilising the Bonferroni correction (BC) presents a significance value of .692 when comparing conditions 3 and 1. As the significance value is greater than (>) the accepted value of 0.05 it is concluded that there is no significant difference between the results obtained from the high tempo music condition and the no music control condition, consequently resulting in the rejection of the hypothesis.
The second hypothesis stating that:
Perception of time spent exercising will be significantly less when exercising while listening to low tempo music compared with a no music control.
Was also rejected owing to the pair wise comparison utilising the BC producing a significance value of .311 when comparing condition 2 and 1. The value of .311>0.05 therefore it is concluded that there is no significant difference between the perception of time in the low tempo condition compared to the no music condition.
The final experimental hypothesis anticipating that:
Perception of time spent exercising will be significantly less when exercising whilst listening to high tempo music compared to low temp music.
Underwent the pair wise comparison test utilising the BC in which a significance value of 1.000 was observed when comparing conditions 3 and 2 (table 6). The value of 1.000>0.05, thus presenting the conclusion that there is no significant difference in the results from the high tempo music condition and the low tempo music condition.
Effect of Music on the Perception of Exercise Duration (Pt 1),