I’m a weekend away (ok, and a Friday) from starting my main empirical study on the effects of singing on well-being. Next Monday, CCCU’s Cantata Choir, conducted by Prof. Grenville Hancox, will have a rehearsal. Before this rehearsal, willing singers will donate saliva samples and fill in a small questionnaire. After their rehearsal they will donate another saliva sample and fill in a not-as-small-as-the-first-one questionnaire. This procedure will be repeated at their concert on the 28th. They will also donate saliva samples on another day of the week when they don’t have singing practice (to check what their cortisol levels look like when they don’t have a singing session).
The main goal of this study is to identify effects of choral singing on psychological states and cortisol, an hormone associated with physiological arousal and a biomarker of stress. With a less than ideal design but still an improvement on previous research, I am hoping that their concert will be associated with stronger emotions (whether positive or negative) and also a greater increase in cortisol. This increase, however, will not be associated to a feeling of stress or any other negative emotion when the singer feels the performance went well.
In the lead up to the start of this study I feel my stress level is increasing. I should have taken part on someone else’s study on the effects of work on cortisol or something! This is a very demanding study, financially and academically. There is so much that can go wrong that I have been working really hard to organize everything the best way possible in order to avoid any mistakes. My main fear is not being able to identify the samples and keep track of what saliva belongs to whom! That’s such a nightmare!
So, as I was thinking about the eminence of this study this morning, the following song popped up in my head. Thank you brain. Watching that video already made my day brighter!