Effects of Immersive Audio on Meditation

Effects of Immersive Audio on Meditation

Abstract

This study aimed to assess the adaptability of audio and music within a binaural sound system to aid in meditation practice. The analysis was investigated by first producing a test piece of audio that used instruments, music compositional techniques, and audio techniques that have shown to have effects on human mental states. With the piece of audio played through headphones, it was possible to run a test session where participants can give feedback through questionnaires before and after the listening experience. The study involved 33 participants who completed the pre and post POMS. The sample consisted of 22 females, ten males, and one not specified. An email campaign was used to source practicing meditation instructors for the aim of getting feedback from experienced professionals. Additional participants for the tests were sought by a public event advertisement, aiming at sourcing non-instructors with varying levels of experience from no experience, to some experience, to meditating often.  The participants reported different types of feelings, such as anger, tension, fatigue, pride, lively, confused, and sad, among others. The participants were subjected to different types of music via the binaural system, and their reactions recorded using self-measuring techniques. They were required to fill in the questionnaires documenting how each type of music affected their current mood from moderately to not-at-all. The results of the study showed that most participants reported improved emotions when they were subjected to multi-channel binaural sounds. For example, the results showed that meditation using multi-channel sounds relieved anger and boosted happy emotions. As such, the study concluded that three-dimensional musical audio scenes could improve results for meditation sessions.

 

Keywords

Meditation, sounds, multi-channel sounds, binaural, stress reduction, mood enhancement, spatial music

1.      Introduction

Music has been found to serve numerous purposes such as entertainment, education, leisure, and even treatment. Studies have also found that music is an effective technique to use during meditation to help ease anxiety and other emotions. Other studies show that listening to music can help induce sleep and reduce the effects of sleep disorders. There are many forms of music that individuals may opt to use during their meditation or therapy sessions. This includes tango, soft music, hard rock, and instrumentals, among others. Recent studies have found that the use of binaural sounds is effective in aiding meditation and easing mood disorders and other mental disorders. Binaural beat therapy is a form of sound wave therapy that uses the brain to control impulses and moods. The concept assumes that the left and right ears each receive different tone frequencies, but the brain perceives these frequencies as a single tone. For instance, if a 530Hz tone is presented to the right ear, while a 520Hz tone is presented to the left ear, a listener will perceive the auditory illusion of a third distinct tone. This third tone is commonly referred to as the binaural sound.  The binaural therapy is typically administered through audio recordings that a patient listens to via headphones. Numerous therapists have articulated that the inclusion of binaural sounds in meditation yields several benefits. Advocates of this therapy state that the therapy has several benefits, including reduction of stress, increased alertness, reduced anxiety, increased motivation, increased concentration, and deeper mediation, among others. Despite its purported benefits, research about its clinical benefits largely remains inconclusive, especially because the doctor does not oversee the delivery of the therapy. While some individuals may see the benefits of binaural therapy in improving moods, some argue that the process does not offer any significant benefits. As such, this research aims to assess the adaptability of audio and music within a binaural sound system to aid in meditation practice. This will be investigated by first producing a test piece of audio that will use instruments, music compositional techniques, and audio techniques that have shown to have effects on human mental states. With the piece of audio played through headphones, it will be possible to run a test session where participants can give feedback through questionnaires before and after the listening experience.

Research Questions

Studies regarding the use of sound mediation have been inconclusive about the impact of sound meditation to altering the mood. As such, this study aims to answer the following questions:

  1. What are the effects of binaural sound effects to altering or improving emotions and moods?
  2. Is a virtual sound meditating setting effective in aiding mediation sessions?
  3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using binaural sound effects in a virtual setting during meditation?

2.      Literature Review

 

As studies directly linking the use of multi-channel systems and meditation proved unattainable, it has been necessary to review other areas associated with meditation that could have potential relationships to this delivery medium. This chapter will, therefore, include discussion of studies on the use of visual virtual reality for mindfulness meditation, musical instruments that show positive results in aiding meditation, technological advances and approaches to delivering physically immersive sound experiences, and methods to enhance relaxed mental brain states.

 

In the Study ‘Meditation Experts Try Virtual Reality Mindfulness, 2017’ research about the effectiveness of virtual reality mindfulness within Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT®). The study demonstrated that practicing mindfulness meditation within virtual reality can be as effective as mindfulness in the natural world. In this pilot study at a mindfulness conference, participants experienced increases in mindfulness levels, reductions in negative emotions like sadness, anger and anxiety, and a heightened sense of relaxation after the test session (María et al., 13). In those tests, participants wore a VR head-mounted display and listened to voice-guided mindfulness meditation, whilst floating down a virtual river. Feedback from participants regarding the use of virtual reality for mindfulness had a mean score of 7.33/10 (María et al., 16). The authors also note that for people with difficulties focusing, using focal items with more considerable intrigue than, for example, the breath, can help motivate people towards experiencing the benefits of mindfulness meditation. The researchers acknowledge that their study is not conclusive and warrants further research, and similar results could be observed within this current research project on the study of an audio-only based virtual scene.

Similarly, in another study titled ‘Didgeridoo Sound Meditation for Stress Reduction and Mood Enhancement in Undergraduates: A Randomized Controlled Trial,’ Philips et al. investigated the effects of the didgeridoo instrument during a sound meditation (Philips et al. 5), one group meditated while focusing on the sound of a live didgeridoo drone, while the other group took part in an instructor’s voice-guided silent meditation. Although both groups experienced benefits for energy, tiredness, and negative arousal, there was no difference between the two groups (Philips et al. 5). The authors found that meditating while focusing on the sound of a didgeridoo drone had greater effectiveness than silent meditation for relaxation and stress reduction. Another result from the tests conducted is that 80% of the didgeridoo meditation participants and 50% of the silent meditation participants said they enjoyed it and would attend again (Philips et al. .7). This current research project benefits from this information by incorporating the sound of a didgeridoo into the test piece of music (Philips et al. 9). The authors acknowledge that further investigation is warranted, which this current research project may include.

A similar study by Goldsby et al. titled, “The Effects of Singing Bowl Sound Meditation on Mood, Tension, and Well-Being: An Observational Study, 2017”, found that sound meditating to Tibetan singing bowls significantly reduces feelings of tension, anger, fatigue, depression, and physical pain, and increases in spiritual wellbeing (Goldsby et al. 401). The authors also note that lower levels of anxiety are a known factor in reduced chances of disease. The authors note that time, patience, and discipline constraints deter people from trying or maintaining a meditation practice (Goldsby et al. 401). The sound meditation covered in the research does not require the necessities of time, patience, and discipline, as the requirement is focusing on the sounds. This current research project in multi-channel surround sound will utilize moving sound source locations, which should further assist with the ease of holding participants’ attention (Goldsby et al. 405). This current research project benefits from this information by incorporating the sound of singing bowls into the test piece of music.

Roginska and Geluso assert that well-known knowledge and recent advances in audio technology make it easier to create virtual surround sound scenes (Roginska & Geluso 12). Their edited book, ‘Immersive Sound – The Art and Science of Binaural and Multichannel Audio, 2018’, includes many chapters relevant to this current research project. The chapter on History of 3D Sound by Boren Braxton details old methods of creating spatial audio scenes and provides the current project with foundational knowledge to work from (Boren 34). The chapter about the Perception of Spatial Sound by Wenzel et al. details how we perceive sound direction and distance psychologically and physiologically. Binaural Audio through Headphones by Roginska covers very useful techniques of producing convincible virtual audio three-dimensional soundstages paramount in altering this projects delivery medium from multi-channel to headphone format.  Object-Based Audio by Tsingos is a new technological idea that while producing immersive audio, sound elements can have informational data attached that implies their direction and distance in space from a listener which then can be decoded to an arbitrary loudspeaker arrangement.  The chapter about Sound Field by Nicol discusses the method of recording, processing and decoding a 3-dimensional, spherical impression of a sound field which will be valuable in capture realistic atmospherics to utilise in the audio produced.  Lastly, Applications of Extended Multi-channel Techniques by Leonard covers recording, processing and mixing methods to deliver a spatial audio scene. The information and techniques in this edited book are essential to produce a test piece of music. The information also directs technological set-up of a sound system within a space to test the effects, and assist in finding meaningful results.

In the article titled ‘The Composition and Performance of Spatial Music, 2009’, author Bates Benda highlights many aspects of the technical, compositional and music production which are relevant to this project (Bates 211). Section 6.5, where Bates’ listening tests give insight into what approaches will work best within a space with characteristics typical to meditation practice sessions. In chapter 5, The Simulation of Distance, Bates summarises six parameters of a sound that contribute to its perceived distance (Bates 214). These will be critical, notably for sections in the composed piece relating to mindfulness due to the necessity of constructing a convincing spatial scene for the user to focus on its attributes and not be distracted by unnatural audio occurrences. Bates acknowledges the complexity of compositions with ‘elaborate spatialisation schemes'(Bates 215), are not as easy to asses as simpler ones. The research of this project will, therefore, analyse just one optimum system set-up, with a single composition, played at the same volume in the research settings to minimise the complexity of analysis (Bates 215). Since this piece of work is a decade old, it should be considered that new advances and improvements may have occurred since.

Pertinent issues, as discussed within this chapter, have shaped the present research, which aims to test the effectiveness of a multi-channel sound system in aiding meditation sessions. This project hypothesises that a multi-channel sound system can effectively aid meditation sessions with advantages and disadvantages.

3.      Methodology

3.1. Introduction

Meditation is considered a soft science and results can be subjective. Therefore, to assess if immersive binaural audios can aid this, several steps were taken. Participants were sourced to listen to the test piece of music. Participants were required to fill out a questionnaire before and after listening. The effects of the audio could then be determined.

3.2. Participant Sourcing

An email campaign was used to source practising meditation instructors for the aim of getting feedback from experienced professionals. Additional participants for the tests were sought by a public event advertisement, aiming at sourcing non-instructors with varying levels of experience from no experience, to some experience, to meditating often. Having a varied level of expertise within the subjects could help assess if the experience may be a factor in determining the results. However, participants with no experience may find it difficult to process two new concepts of meditation and multi-channel together and therefore, not return effective results for that group.

Contact was made with the Subpac creators who offered help to source Subpac owners interested in meditation who could help assess the audio and complete the surveys. This would make it possible to utilise physical infrasonic vibrations within the composition. It would then be possible to compare participants who used a subpac and who didn’t to analyse if this can have an effect on meditation.

A total of 75 people started the survey, of which 38 did not complete the survey after listening, and hence were excluded. An additional 6 respondents were excluded for reasons of not using headphones, substantial hearing loss and not listening to the audio.

A remaining 33 people completed the pre and post POMS, of which 32 completed the subjective analysis. This consisted of 22 female, 10 male and 1 not specified.

3.3. The Test Piece of Music

A piece of music was produced specifically for testing.

Overview

The piece has two parts. Part I is based on relaxation and Part II based on mindful concentration.

3.3.1. Instrumentation

The music utilises singing bowls (Goldsby et al. 404), didgeridoo (Philips et al. 6) and other instruments common to sound meditation practice such as gongs, chimes and hand pans. Birds can be heard naturally in the ambisonics atmospheres recordings and during Part II where the created forest audio scene uses bird vocal sounds that are placed into the virtual three-dimensional scene and their timing and rhythm synchronised to the tempo of the music making them become part of the music. During Part II, distraction sounds are placed in space as off-focus elements (for example, footsteps and trees creaking in the wind). The rhythm of these distraction sounds were also synchronised into the tempo if the music to bring the natural sounds and musical elements together.

3.3.2. Monaural Beats

Monaural beats were utilised to guide the narrative of the piece using the brainwave entrainment technique (Chaieb et al. 3). The decision to use monaural beats was based on the anticipation of delivering the audio through a multi-channel system. Binaural beats could also have been used if it were anticipated the audio would be delivered through headphones. Monaural beats are as effective through headphones as they are through external speakers, as they do not require two separate sound sources delivered to each individual ear. Therefore, using monaural beats through headphones would not have a negative effect on their effectiveness. The decision to use monaural beats was not to succeed in altering mood states, as research has shown contradicting results to the effectiveness of beat stimulus to achieve this (Chaieb et al. 7), and it is also beyond the scope of this research project. The purpose of the decisions was to demonstrate how music can be used to target brainwave frequency ranges. Monaural beating was achieved by producing two sine waves spaced apart by half the targeted beat frequencies for each frequency. Also the bowls and hand pans were sent to auxiliary tracks where the same method was used merge the beating into the musical sounds. At the start of the piece, monaural beats are within the gamma range at 23 Hz. Throughout Part I, the dominant underlying frequencies passes through beta, alpha and into theta region at 7.5Hz. For Part II, the predominant underlying frequency range increases from theta back to the gamma range.

3.3.3. Tuning system

There is inconclusive evidence weather 432 Hz has more significant health and wellbeing benefits to humans (Calamassi and Pomponi 4). Contrary, there is strong belief within wellbeing communities that there is. An attempt was made to tune the composition to 432 Hz with Pythagorean temperament which has the most harmonious relationships between notes. Many difficulties arose with this as DAWs and virtual instruments effectiveness and compatibility with each other proved unworkable within the setup. A compromise using the scale of twelve true fifths (Leimu) was also investigated with the same result. Too much time had passed on this section of the project, so the piece was tuned to 432Hz equal temperament.

3.3.4. Spatialisation Techniques

Part I uses sound field tetrahedral recordings (Nicol 278) of a busy city and a forest to assist in giving the users a sense of presence away from their test setting. Ambisonics panning techniques are used for moving sources in this section of the piece as it provides a greater sense of envelopment (Bates iii). In-Phase ambisonics decoding scheme was utilised as this creates a more realistic spatial scene for off-centre listening positions (Bates 111).
In Part II, instrument source positioning uses the VBAP technique (Pulkki) (Tsingos 248) to aid with point focus concentration as this technique gives a more accurate perceived source location than the ambisonics technique (Bates iii). It is impossible to determine what will help immersion or hinder it with distractions, as that would be subjective. Nevertheless, it was considered when composing.

3.3.5. Binaural Rendering

Since the change in the delivery medium from multi-channel to binaural due to imposed restrictions, it was necessary to render the audio piece to a binaural format for testing. It would have been ideal to use a personalised head-related transfer function (HRTF) for each participant. But since this is a very complex task requiring either specialised equipment and preferable acoustic environment, or an additional testing process and effort for participants, it was decided to use a generic HRTF for one test piece.  The default set of head-related impulse responses in the Sparta AmbiBin plugin was used (McCormack and Politis) which uses 836-point simulation of a Kemar Dummy head, courtesy of Genelec AuralID”.(McCormack et al.)

3.3.6. Infrasonic Frequencies

Evidence shows that the use of vibroacoustics to be effective in reducing blood pressure and heart rate leading to a more relaxed state (Wigram 188). To utilise, these frequencies were produced in parallel and in sync to the monaural beat frequencies. As these frequencies were infrasonic, they would be delivered through a Subpac worn on the back of the participant. There were no known tools available to produce these frequencies to the desired effect so I was necessary to code a plugin which was carried out in Cabbage Audio using Csound.

3.3.7. Tempo Changing

The tempo of the piece slows down from 185BPM to 60 BPM as it goes from the intense start into the relaxation phase in Part 1. By contrasting the relaxed stage of the piece with this more intense beginning can heighten the sense of relaxation. After the relaxation phase, the tempo gradually increases to 105 BPM to awaken participants into a more focused state.

3.4. The Space

The space initially planned for testing was to consist of five chairs, one in the centre of the area, surrounded by four, slightly off-centre seating positions. See fig.1. This decision was based on the precedence effect on localisation accuracy for off-centre listening positions (Bates 110–11). An issue here would have been off-centre listening positions will not perceive the piece as accurately as the centre listening position, which may have affected results.

Figure 1: Floor Plan for Film Studio 3.(Delahan)

3.5. The Speaker System

Six speakers provide effective results for a central listening position only in the case of amplitude panning (Thieile and Plenge) and ambisonics panning (Benjamin et al.) Since there will be participants slightly off centre, a higher number of loudspeakers will be required to compensate, since – “If a minimum of six loudspeakers is required for a single listener then it is reasonable to assume that a greater number will be required for an expanded listening area” (Guastavino and Katz). Therefore, eight speakers will surround the perimeter of the room. Four additional overhead and an additional four ‘below’ speakers at -30degrees will be used to give compelling soundstage as (Kim 227–28) states, in reference to (Kim et al) that, in the context of height layers -“ three or four loudspeakers are required to render convincing and pleasant sound images” (Kim 227–28). See fig.1. The number of speakers required will be a limitation to aiding in meditation as the set-up can be complex. Due to the restrictions imposed on the project, participants used their own space using binaural over headphones for testing.

3.6. The Tests

Listening sessions were voice-guided to relax in Part I of the piece, then in Part II, to focus on specific sounds within the music. The study used a mixed design within-subject factor time (pre-testing, post-testing). The mood rating score on the shortened version of the Profile of Mood States (POMS) scale (Shacham) was used to assess the effectiveness of the treatment. The Profile of Mood States takes scores of tension, anger, fatigue, depression, esteem-related affect, vigour and confusion.  A score for ‘Total Mood Disturbance’ (TMD) can be determined using calculations (Shacham 5). Shacham 5 states that comparing the level of TMD change before testing to after testing can indicate the effectiveness of the piece of audio. Participants completed the POMS questionnaire before commencing the test. Post-test, they will then complete the second POMS questionnaire. The POMS questionnaires only assess one way in which this system can aid meditation so an additional assessment method was needed. Supplementary questions were also asked post-test as subjective analysis based on the Likert Scale (Vagias), See Table 2. Data was analysed pre-testing and post-testing to contrast the scale degree of mood change and subjective impressions of the outcomes.

This study follows the methodology used in the research by (Philips et al) as it was shown to suit subjective analysis. Also, the study on the shortened version of POMS (Shacham) shows the reliability of assessing mood states with this shortened form.

4.      Results

4.1. Participants’ Demographics

 

Age Range Percentage Number
16-25 12.50% 4
26-35 18.75% 6
36-45 43.75% 14
46-55 18.75% 6
56-65 3.13% 1
66+ 3.13% 1

Table 1 – Age ranges

The age range of participants can be seen in table 1.

None of the remaining respondents felt there was anything outside the presented experience that could have had a negative effect on their interpretations of the experience. Of the 32 respondents, 17 reported meditating often, 5 of which were professional voice guides/instructors. 14 respondents meditate sometimes and 1 never. 30 participants reported normal hearing health. 2 people reported mild hearing loss and remained in the analysis.

 

Headphones used by participants ranged. 9 respondents used subpar headphones quantified as costing less the thirty euros, 7 used mediocre headphones quantified as costing between 30 and 80 euros, 9 used good quality headphones quantified as costing above 80 euros and 7 used an unreported or unknown make and will remain in the analysis.

4.2. POMS Analysis

 

Figure 2 Profile of mood states results per participant.

The POMS analyses return results classified as Total Mood Disturbance (TMD) within a range between minus 40 and plus 120. A plus result suggests the participant has a higher TMD and is in a more negative mind state. A minus result suggests a lower TMD and a more positive mind state. From Table 2 it can be noted that of the 33 respondents, 2 results indicated an increase in TMD, 1 indicates no change in TMD and 30 indicate a decrease in TMD. Of the two that returned an increase in TMD, one was a very noticeable increase and the other was a very slight increase. The 30 respondents that indicated a decrease in TMD, results varied wide from slight to large changes.

 

 

Figure 3 Comparing professionals to non-professionals

 

In figure 3, a comparison is made of TMD changes for professional instructors/guides and non-professionals. All professionals marked a decrease in TMD, 5 of which were slight decreases and 7 a noticeable decrease. 3 non-professionals results indicate increase, or no change and the remaining 27 results indicate a decrease in TMD. It is only non-professionals that returned results indicating a large decrease in TMD.

 

Figure 4: Difference in TMD change between male and female participants.

Figure 4 indicates a higher percentage of females that return a large decrease in TMD, compared to males.

4.3. Subjective Analysis

With respondents reporting significant hearing loss being disqualified and only 2 people reporting mild hearing loss, analysing the difference would not give reliable results. Therefore, the analysis will not investigate this difference.

4.4. Meditation experience analysis

Figure 5: Likelihood of meditating if this system was readily available.

In Figure 5 it can be noted that a vast majority of participants would be more likely to meditate if this system were readily available. All participants who meditate sometimes would be more likely, whereas some participants who meditate often were neutral or unlikely to do so.

Figure 6: Part I, relaxation results

In Figure 6 it can be noted that most participants found it easy or very easy to relax by the end of Part I. Participants who meditate often return higher results of finding it very easy to relax by the end of the second half.

 

 

 

Figure 7: Part II, Concentration Results

In Figure 7, 4 people found it difficult to concentrate, 4 people were neutral, and 24 people found it easy of very easy to concentrate for Part II of the piece. People who meditate often were more likely to find it very easy to concentrate in Part II.

 

 

Figure 8: Benefits of distractions for long term concentration ability.

Based on Figure 8, 20 people felt that by having distractions during meditation can help the ability to focus in the long term. 2 people disagreed. 10 people felt that it depended for various reasons.

 

 

Figure 9: Comparing meditation in virtual and natural worlds

Figure 9 shows 3 people who felt this method of virtual meditation was worse than natural world meditation. 11 people found it about the same and 18 found it better than meditation in the natural world. People who meditate sometimes are more likely to find this type of virtual meditation better than meditating in the natural world.

  1. Discussion

This project investigated if a three-dimensional virtual audio scene with music can aid meditation practice sessions and if there are any advantages or disadvantages. To do this a test piece of audio with music was produced using techniques and instruments that are believed to have positive results in aiding meditation sessions. Singing bowls, didgeridoo, gongs, and chimes among other instruments were utilised in the composition. Techniques included tempo changes, musical mode changes, monaural beats and infrasonic frequencies. The piece included a voice guide to assist in directing the participants. Participants completed a Profile of Mood States (POMS) questionnaire pre and post listening to determine any change in Total Mood Disturbance. Participants were also asked a series of questions as part of a subjective analysis after the post POMS.

The results find that a three-dimensional virtual audio scene with music can aid meditation sessions with various advantages and some disadvantages.

5.1. Interpretation

The composition for the test audio uses many techniques and therefore it would be difficult to pinpoint what factors from the audio contributed to the results. It could have been only one technique, more than one or the combination of multiple or all techniques used. It is likely that monaural beats were a factor as previous studies have shown them to be effective in altering mood states. Additionally, sing bowls and didgeridoo have also shown positive effects during meditation settings and are likely a contributing factor.

This approach seems to be more effective for non-professional meditation instructors or guides, and less experienced meditators. This could be due having a less balanced mood state prior to the test due to a lower amount of recent meditation.

The fact that participants who meditate often reporting greater ease of relaxation is likely due to higher practice levels. Similarly, participants who meditate often reporting greater ease of focus could be partly due to higher recent practice levels.

Since feedback is subjective and many techniques are used, speculation for reasoning behind the positive results suggests that by immersing a meditation practitioner in a virtual three dimensional sound scene whilst utilising sounds, music and audio techniques in general, can aid in bringing a more relaxed and focused mind state. In addition to utilising effective instruments the present research suggests that combing multiple instruments and techniques can have a positive result in meditation practice.

 

5.2. Integration

The Study ‘Meditation Experts Try Virtual Reality Mindfulness, 2017’ (María et al.) tested the effects of a virtual visual scene on mindful meditation. This current research project is the first to investigate the effects of virtual audio scene on meditation practice and suggests novel approaches to do so. This project also integrated using instruments that have previously been shown to have a positive effect on meditation. Other previous research shows that it possible to deliver a convincing three dimensional audio scene through headphones by using the binaural audio technique (Roginska).

5.3. Implications

It is common for people to believe that meditation is boring and hence never try it and therefore do not understanding its benefits. Since this approach shows more positive results for less experienced meditators and a positive result from the participant with no meditation experience, this method can be a valuable introduction to people new to meditation. If not for the benefits of meditation but for the entertainment factor of music and a three-dimensional virtual scene can entice people to have their first experience with meditation and could then understand and experience its benefits.  This project opens new lines of possible research into the individual techniques used; separate to being used together, to help understand the effects of each technical and compositional approach. The projects reframing suggests that comparing multi-channel to binaural delivery would be beneficial as multi-channel can deliver a more convincing virtual audio scene.

Conclusion

This project investigated if being within a three-dimensional musical audio scene can improve results for meditation sessions. The findings confirm this to be true using this novel approach. Further research is necessary to determine the exact causes behind the results and new musical and audio pieces should be produced to utilise this new approach.

Limitations

This project has three main limitations. Firstly, it was mixed using a multi-channel system and rendered to binaural for headphones. Secondly there was a small sample size. Thirdly, the test does not compare the effects on non-binaural stereo or a live sound scene.
Firstly, mixing the audio in binaural for headphones would have provided a more accurate spatial scene. Since the results were positive, this would most likely improve the results from the questionnaires. Secondly, due to the small sample size it is possible the results could vary up or down with a larger sample size. Since respondents with less meditation experience showed greater decreases in Total Mood Disturbance it would be valuable to investigate the effects on people who have no experience. This project only had one respondent with no experience and therefore is not reliable data to work with. This factor suggests good reasoning to further research the effects on people new to meditation. Thirdly, this research does not have a comparison group. It would be advantageous to compare these results with test questions based on audio delivered through stereo speakers or even a live performance. This would help further narrow the exact cause and weighting of the Total Mood Disturbance decreases.

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix

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