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Music Listening in a Social Context

September 2023

Director, MIMM:  Dr. Laurel Trainor, Ph.D. (905) 525-9140 ext. 23007

Research Coordinators: Sally Stafford, Susan Marsh-Rollo (905) 525-9149 ext. 25483

Researchers: Rachael Finnerty (, Emily Wood (

Sponsors: NSERC, David Gerry Student-Led Research Award

Purpose of the Study: We are investigating how people feel and move while listening to music in groups.

Description of the Research: 

We will ask you to consent and fill out two surveys online before coming in (~5 minutes). When you arrive at the LIVELab for the study, you will fill out some questionnaires on a tablet. You will then listen to music through headphones in a group of four for 10-minutes while we track your motion. Then you will be asked to make various judgements about the task using a tablet. Finally, you will play a game with your group of four for a chance to win some money ($2-11 depending on what you and your group members decide to do).

  •  To capture the motion of your head, you will be given a headphone with small markers. Video cameras will record the position of the markers overtime, from which we can generate a 3D model of your motion.
  •  This study will be recorded using Video Cameras within the theatre that will be used for later analysis.
  • You will also be asked to make various judgments or provide responses about the experience using one of the lab’s computer tablets. The types of questions asked will be demonstrated at the beginning of the study. We ask that you do not look at other people’s responses or discuss your responses with those seated around you.

The entire process will take around 30 minutes. If at any time during the process you need assistance, please raise your hand and a research assistant will come to help you.

Potential Harms:  The risks of participating are minimal. You may choose to not answer questions on the questionnaires if they make you feel uncomfortable. As you are in the LIVELab with many other participants, other participants will know that you participated. You might find it awkward to listen to music together or uncomfortable to listen to your non-preferred music. However, this shouldn’t pose any more risk than that experienced in everyday life. You may feel uncomfortable answering the social questions about your group. Your fellow participants will not know any of your answers and they will be confidential and anonymous. You may feel uncomfortable playing the public goods game. Your fellow participants will not know your individual responses and your answers will be confidential and anonymous. We will give you your money when you’re leaving so that you won’t have to interact with each other once you know how much you have won.    

Potential Benefits:  The results will not benefit you directly, but will increase our understanding of how people interact when listening to music, which is important for understanding human behaviour and building healthy societies.

Incentive:  You will have a chance to win between $2-11 in the game. The amount you win will depend on what you and your group members decide to do.

Confidentiality:  As you are in the LIVELab with many other people, other participants will see that you are also a participant. However, your responses will be identifiable by only a participant code and only the researcher will know who corresponds to what participant code. All potentially identifying data will be kept confidential and securely stored in the LIVELab and may be used for future research. Data may be uploaded to an online repository and made publically available however all raw survey data will go through a process of determining potential identifiability and an anonymous dataset created prior to sharing.

Motion capture recordings will contain video that includes your identity; however, these videos will not be distributed and will remain secured on the LIVELab servers    

Confidentiality will be respected and no information that discloses your identity will be released or published without your consent, unless required by law (for example, laws pertaining to the protection of vulnerable individuals including children).  Data collected by LimeSurvey is stored on secure servers at McMaster University. All data and recordings will remain in Dr. Trainor's lab, stored in de-identified form for possible future analysis, until such time as they are destroyed.

Participation and Withdrawal:  Participation in research is voluntary. If you choose to participate, you can skip any question you prefer not to answer and are free to withdraw from the study at any time without any negative consequences, even after signing this form, up until Oct 1, 2023 when we expect to have all data de-identified for analyses. In the case of withdrawal, all response data will be destroyed. If you wish to withdraw while in the theatre, please raise your hand, and a research assistant will help you disconnect from the recording system and leave the main theatre.  If you wish to withdraw after, please contact Emily Wood at

Information about the Study Results: Any results from this study that are published in the future can be accessed via You can also indicate in the consent section if you wish to receive newsletters summarizing the results of this and other studies conducted in the LIVELab.

Ethics Review: This study has been reviewed by the McMaster University Research Ethics Board and received ethics clearance. If you have concerns or questions about your rights as a participant or about the way the study is conducted, please contact:

 McMaster Research Ethics Board

Telephone: (905) 525-9140 ext. 23142

C/o Research Office for Administrative Development and Support E-mail:

Contact: If you have any questions about this study, you may contact the lab via email, or by telephone: 905) 525-9149 ext. 25483



  • I acknowledge that the research procedures have been explained to me and that any questions that I have asked have been answered to my satisfaction. 
  • I have been informed of the right not to participate and the right to withdraw at any time without any negative consequences during the experiment or up until one week after the date I participated. I am also aware of the potential harms and benefits of participating. 
  • I know that I may ask now, or in the future, any questions I have about the study or the research procedures. 
  • I have been assured that individual results will be kept confidential and that no information will be released or printed that would disclose my personal identity without my permission, unless required by law.
  • I understand that my anonymized data may be used for future research or uploaded to an online repository and made publicly available.
  • I understand that I will be offered a copy of this form to keep.

I understand that by clicking 'NEXT' I consent to the above information. 

You will then be directed to a music preference survey (~2mins) and a google form to share your availability to participate in the study.

There is 1 question in this survey.