Monday, March 16, 2009

It Hurts To Remember...

Here is something a friend sent me:

Does familiarity breed contempt? On the contrary, it breeds liking. In the 1980s, social psychologists began showing people such stimuli as Turkish words and Chinese ideographs and asking them how much they liked them. They would show a given stimulus somewhere between one and twenty-five times. The more the subjects saw the stimulus the more they liked it. Needless to say, their subjects did not find it plausible that the mere number of times they had seen a stimulus could have affected their liking for it. (You're probably wondering if white rats are susceptible to the mere familiarity effect.) The study has been done. Rats brought up listening to music by Mozart prefer to move to the side of the cage that trips a switch allowing them to listen to Mozart rather than Schoenberg. Rats raised on Schoenberg prefer to be on the Schoenberg side. The rats were not asked the reasons for their musical preferences.
-- Richard E. Nisbett, Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan --

The reason this information so intrigues me is that I can personally attest to its veracity.
It takes me back to my own childhood, way out on the Saskatchewan prairies.
See, my mother placed two very different types of music on either side of my cage also.
I shall never forget this.
On one side the sweet sounds of Dvorak’s New World Symphony.
On the other, Iron Butterfly’s In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida [entire side 1 of the album, of course].
Both played simultaneously and were activated by a switch that was turned on when I was a mere infant and not turned off until I graduated from high school.
I am wondering if this has anything to do with my current habit, now at 45 years of age, of sleeping with the pillow actually wrapped around my head and firmly held there with industrial-strength elastics.



SFP said...

I heard New World Symphony on the radio this morning!

(That was something I never heard growing up in my house until high school when we played it in band.)

Alyce said...

So which side of the cage do you lean toward, Dvorak or Iron Butterfly? :)

I remember when I discovered Iron Butterfly in high school and I was so excited about "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" and "Flowers and Beads." Being a clueless teenager, I thought this was a new group, and I just had to share my exciting discovery with my parents. Imagine my horror when my parents (laughing very loudly) pulled out their old 8-track version and told me about our new shared taste in music!