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Anmerkungen zur Rolle der Versuchsperson in der experimentellen Musikpsychologie

Ekkehard Jost
International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music
Vol. 4, No. 2 (Dec., 1973), pp. 229-244
DOI: 10.2307/836678
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/836678
Page Count: 16
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Anmerkungen zur Rolle der Versuchsperson in der experimentellen Musikpsychologie
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Abstract

Summary: Notes on the Role of Respondents in the Experimental Psychology of Music. The article analyzes some methodical presuppositions which lie under the surface of psychological research work in the field of music and re-examines their unreflecting ideological implications. The role of the respondent in musical psychology is vital in this respect and is examined in detail. - Over the last one hundred years, this role has undergone some basic changes: while the precondition for the use of the method of introspection in the analysis of "elements of conscious mental life" in the so-called psychology of elements was the availability of specially selected and trained respondents, Carl Stumpf's investigations of "melting" showed quite clearly that the respondents' relative musical competence must be taken into account as an independent variable. In recent musical psychology, influenced by American behaviorism, the role of the respondent is reduced to that of a single element in statistical distribution. The representative data of musical behaviour, which is postulated as a general human trait, is a set of individual respondents' judgements expressed as a mean arithmetical value. Deviations from the mean value are interpreted as chance individual vacillations whose range is expressed by means of the coefficient of dispersion but is left unanalyzed. The criticism of this approach is directed first of all at the concealed pseudo-democratic assumption that there is such a thing as "music for all". The example of the "semantic differential", a procedure whose use has been growing in musical psychology in recent years, is given at the end to supply one of several methodological alternatives which enable the researcher to include the respondents' socio-cultural backgrounds more meaningfully in his research.

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