Friday, March 06, 2020

Musical IQ?



Several people send me a link to this video in the last week. In it Adam Neely addresses some real issues and, in fact, shows how difficult it is to design an unbiased test that probes musicality - our capacity for music (see [1] for some cross-cultural concerns).

Although I’m not too fond of the title of the test (I'm doubting whether IQ or g research is a good role model for this kind of enterprise)*, it is an important attempt to probe our capacity for music. And despite all the foreseen and unforeseen criticism, I continue to believe this is a project worth working on ├índ thinking about.

Recently, an international consortium started to work on relatively unbiased and scalable tests that can reveal individual differences within and across societies. However, this research program is still in its early stages [2,3].

Samuel Mehr, Daniel M├╝llensiefen and colleagues –who made the test [4])– are also members of the consortium and currently running web-based tests on a large scale. The first progress will be reported at two symposia at the NMVII in Aarhus, DK coming June.

And lastly, this is a research project that, I suspect, will take quite a few years to come to a result: slow science!

[1] https://mp.ucpress.edu/content/37/3/185
[2] https://mcg.uva.nl/musicality2019/
[3] https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/origins-musicality
[4] https://www.themusiclab.org/quizzes/miq

*See, e.g., Maas et al. for a potential way out.