Monday, May 28, 2018

URSP Student Faith Ryan Examines the Effect of Musical Tempo on Performance in the Sustained Attention to Response Task

For my URSP research project, I am examining the effect of varying musical tempo on performance in the Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART), a computerized task aimed to measure sustained attention. Briefly, the goal of my project is to measure how auditory stimuli affects the apparent speed-accuracy trade-off (SATO) in responding to certain visual signals in the task. 
Before beginning my project, my knowledge on the SART and SATOs was limited. However, I knew I wanted to conduct an experiment involving the two after learning about the purpose of the SART from my mentors, as well as my growing curiosity for computer programming and cognitive ability tasks. Additionally, the premise of the program—to study deficits in attention by measuring participants’ error rates and reaction times to rapidly presented stimuli­—sparked my initial interest due to the relative usability and ease in administering the task to multiple participants in a short time. While reviewing research papers on the SART, I also discovered a gap in the literature about how auditory stimuli such as musical tempo effects SART performance. Since I have had a passion for music since I was young, I saw this as a great opportunity to combine my love for music and psychology for my research project. 
From my project, I am gaining experience and familiarity with the research process in psychology. For example, when submitting forms to the Institutional Review Board (IRB), I have learned to be more precise and thorough when describing my experiment and its procedures. Moreover, I believe this project is a step in my journey as a research student that will allow me to pursue more research opportunities regarding my interests in the future.