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In this lab we tested the effects that different kinds of music have on the heart rate as well as the body's blood pressure. The heart is a vital organ that humans need to live. It has two functions; the first is to pump deoxygenated blood to the lungs to become oxygenated and then to pump the oxygenated blood to the rest of the body to produce oxygen and circulation (Nishimura RA et al. 1989). Heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute. When you listen to your heart beat under a stethoscope you can hear a "lub" "dub" sound; that sound means the tricuspid and bicuspid valves are closing. The tricuspid valve is located in-between the right atrium and the right ventricle and the bicuspid are located in the left AV valve. Blood pressure measures the force of the blood pushing against the artery walls as it travels through the body. There are two kinds of blood pressure that we measure; the first is called systolic, this is measured when the heart beats and creates the highest blood pressure in the body (Goldblatt H et al.1934). The second is called diastolic; this is measured in between the periods that the heart is pumping, when it is relaxed (Schoenstadt A 2006). Our group conducted an experiment to test and see if different types of music would have any effect on a person's blood pressure and heart rate. The question we were researching is whether or not different kinds of music will have an effect on heart rate and blood pressure. Our hypothesis was that heart rate and blood pressure would decrease if the music playing was from a chill type of genre, then the heart rate and blood pressure would increase if it were a song that was from an upbeat genre. The idea was that stress would increase or decrease depending on the type of music playing because during a fast beat song the person would get excited and naturally their heart rate would increase, whereas a slower beat song would help a person relax and their heart rate would naturally decrease; however, this could differ depending on the person's favorite kind of music. The significance of this experiment was to show that even the smallest change in a persons surroundings, such as sound through music could have a significant impact on blood pressure and heart rate.
Materials and Methods:
We set up our experiment by having our lab partner take our blood pressure and heart rate while listening to the different songs. Keep in mind that there were about 21 students doing this experiment and our results include everyone's data, and not just our lab partners. The independent variables in this experiment were the songs. The dependent variables were the order the songs were played in, and the blood pressure and heart rate. We used a sphygmomanometer to measure each other's blood pressure and heart rate (Weedman 2009). Before we went on with the experiment, we took three basal readings for our lab partners to measure their resting or normal blood pressure and heart rate so that we could have something to compare our data too. The first song we played was called "This Year's Love" by David Gray. We took BP and HR 30 seconds into the song, after 1 minute and 30 seconds, and 30 seconds after the song had ended. The second song we played was called "Bleeding Mascara" by Atreyu. We measured the blood pressure and heart rate at the same times for this song. We switched off doing this in groups. The first group listened to the songs in the order I had just stated above, the second group listened to the Atreyu song first and David Gray's song second. This could have an impact on the data we received since the order of the songs being played was different for the second group. The data we obtained was a series of different heart rates and blood pressures for all of the students in the class; this included basal readings, as well as blood pressure and heart rate recorded during the time the songs were playing. We compared the data by doing a simple statistical test called a Ttest, this measures the percent chance of whether or not our data was a reflection of the experiment or if the data could have been influenced by an outside source more so than the experiment. After getting all of our results, we took the average of everyone's basal blood pressure (BP) and basal heart rate (HR). Then we computed the average the BP and HR readings we had for the songs and the times. The averages were then computed onto a graph to show the increase or decrease in blood pressure and heart rate.
There was a noticeable difference in some of the averages for the blood pressures and heart rates; however a ttest determined which results were significant and which were not. The ttest was performed comparing basal pulse rate to the upbeat and chill music one minute and thirty seconds into the songs, and then compared the pulse rate of the upbeat song one minute and thirty seconds to the chill song one minute and thirty seconds into the song. These same measurements were taken for the systolic and diastolic blood pressures. Comparing the basal readings to the readings taken while the songs were playing was to show whether or not music had any effect on heart rate and blood pressure. Comparing the values from each song at the same time in showed whether or not the type of music had any effect on blood pressure and heart rate. The pvalues obtained for the heart rate ttest's were .004504, .000176, and .000929 that shows a very small chance that these results were just random. The pvalues obtained for systolic and diastolic blood pressures greater than .05.
Our initial hypothesis stated that music would have an impact on blood pressure and heart rate. Chill music would make heart rate and blood pressure decrease whereas heavy metal music would cause the heart rate and blood pressure to increase. Our prediction was that stress would increase with the heavy metal music playing naturally causing the heart rate and blood pressure to increase, whereas stress would decrease with the chill music playing because the song would serve as a relaxation technique. Our results somewhat supported our hypothesis in a way that only part of it was rejected. The part that our hypothesis supported was that music did have a significant effect on heart rate, this was shown through the pvalues that we got through the ttest that were all very close to 5% which shows the percent chance that the values were due to some other random variable. The part of our hypothesis that was rejected was that music would have a significant effect on blood pressure. The ttest did not support this with pvalues that were in the 10-30% range, which is obviously nowhere near 5%. This shows that the percent chance that these numbers were due to another variable is very possible, so this shows that blood pressure may not be influenced by music. I am not exactly sure if there is another hypothesis that could have been used to better support the results since the initial hypothesis was not completely rejected.
A study done by Byers and Smyth compared the effects of noise and music on heart rate and blood pressure; their studies found that a patient's heart rate and blood pressure would increase when they heard an annoying noise, and actually decreased listening to music (Byers and Smyth1997). This supports my results that music does make the heart rate go down, however they did not state the type of music that they were using in their experiment so it is a little hard to determine how much I can compare our results to theirs. They also said that the blood pressure decreased while listening to the music. In our results blood pressure actually increased with the chill music playing and decreased with the heavy metal. This is still hard to compare with their results since they were comparing two different sounds and not two different types of music. Its also hard to determine how much I can compare their results to ours since we were not doing our experiment on patients that are about to have heart surgery. However, comparing these two studies I think it is still safe to say that music does have an effect on heart rate, and to an extent influences blood pressure.
A few weaknesses I found in the study were, some of the data was not completely accurate since there were errors and unknowns for some of the pulse rate and blood pressure readings. This study may have been more effective if other outside variables were controlled such as, certain foods may have had an effect on a person's blood pressure and/or heart rate. Also different levels of stress already present could have had an effect on a person's blood pressure. There are so many different variables that were not included in this study that may have had a different effect on the results that it is hard to determine how accurate some of our results are.