|Hormonal Music: A Sonic Treatment for Stress|
| Posted on 29/05/2014 - 15:56|
To create a process and MP3 player that will measure the body’s stress levels and trigger choices of music that could alter mood by modulating hormones, heart rate, pulse and blood pressure.
Stress, anxiety and depression, are behind one-in-five visits to a GP. In 2010/11 400,000 people in the UK reported work-related stress at a level that was making them ill. Music is widely acknowledged as being an extremely effective stress-management tool. The challenge is to produce a handheld mobile technology that recognises early symptoms of stress and tailors music (via playlists) to have a beneficial effect on physiological functions, slowing pulse /heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing levels of stress hormones. Music is the cultural tool that we collectively use over any other to modulate mood and emotion. However, when people are very stressed, there’s a tendency to avoid actively listening to music. We need to personalise music to the individual and mood status.
A handheld device that algorithmically organises music into playlists that modulate the listener’s moods and emotions. These playlists will respond directly to pulse, heart-rate and blood pressure tests and stress-hormone status measured in saliva. Thus the user will be asked to self monitor pulse and heart-rates and mail tubes of saliva into our testing centre at Manchester Metropolitan University. We will measure cortisol, oxytocin, and adrenaline levels and attribute an algorithm to the findings that suits the needs of the user. This in turn will effect mood and have the capacity to address stress-related conditions. Ultimately we will find a scientifically accurate process by which to tailor music to people’s needs so that they are better able to control every-day stress levels.
Target group and social impact
For this first iteration of the project we are focusing on improving mood and alleviating stress meaning that a potentially wide range of people will benefit from our project. The target group does, however, have the potential to be extensive as a significantly large number of people utilise sound and music to modulate their moods and emotions. The social impact will be relevant to those sections of society that have to deal with mild - debilitating anxiety and stress on a daily basis. By alleviating such a condition, a rise in people’s well-being will occur and by association, economic benefits will transpire as people suffering stress-related conditions would not have to take leave or days off work.
Competences of the applicant
The applicants consist of university professors, researchers, and lecturers that have expertise and experience in psychology, neuroscience, interface design, programming, biology, and sound studies. We also have access to the technology, technical help and industry connections required to successfully undertake the research, prototype development and final build to make the device ready for market
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