17-26 Segment 1: Perfect Pitch


 

Certain musicians not only have the ability to produce and perform music, but also have a special ability to hear any sound and identify what note it is. Dr. Diana Deutsch, Professor of Psychology at the University of California, San Diego, describes this special talent as having “perfect pitch”. Famous composers Beethoven and Mozart were said to have this ability as well as performers like Jimi Hendrix and Mariah Carey. Do you have to be a famous musician to have this ability? Experts claim this might not necessarily be true.

Stephen Van Hedger, University of Chicago PhD student in psychology, not only has researched this ability, but also has perfect pitch himself. When given any sound, Van Hedger can name the note associated with it. Additionally, he can produce the same note without thought. Although he has a musical background dating back to age 7, Stephen has a special gift experts claim only one in ten thousand people possess. Why is that number so low? Van Hedger claims the reason is that many people do not have a musical background, so they may have this talent, but do not know how to utilize their skill. He also claims the earlier one learns music, the higher chance they will have to develop perfect pitch by adulthood.

After conducting a study at the University of Chicago, Professor of Psychology Dr. Howard Nusbaum found that people may be able to develop a learned and trained ability of music later in life. The study consisted of teaching adults a series of notes and later testing them. The participants in the study recognized the notes given because they spent a decent amount of time training. Dr. Nusbaum concluded that with the proper amount of training, perfect pitch might be achieved. This means that you may never be too old to learn a new trick.

 

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Guests:

  • Dr. Diana Deutsch, Professor of Psychology, University of California, San Diego
  • Stephen Van Hedger, PhD student in cognitive psychology
  • Dr. Howard Nusbaum, Professor of Psychology, University of Chicago

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17-26 Segment 2: Children and Social Anxiety


 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, fifteen million Americans or 13% suffer from social anxiety. It is the most common form of anxiety and the fourth most common mental illness. Adolescence is typically where experts find the most onset of this disorder.

The opinions of peers can negatively affect any adolescent into thinking they do not belong. Some young adults and teenagers become so influenced by the opinions of others they develop social anxiety. According to Jennifer Shannon, co-founder of Santa Rose Center for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, social anxiety is an anxiety disorder that influences a person’s functioning. Those with social anxiety avoid social situations like class or parties all together because they perceive threats of their environment. These threats involve worrying about people looking at you or judging you. Adolescents with social anxiety often create excuses to avoid school or gatherings because their fear of judgement.

Although Jennifer Shannon is an expert in this field, she could not find any resources for her own daughter Rose, so she decided to take matters in her own hands. She wrote the books  The Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook for Teens and The Anxiety Survival Guide for Teens as a guide for teens as well as their parents to cope and eventually overcome the disorder. On the bright side, Shannon claims this disease is completely treatable.

Jennifer Shannon runs a Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy treatment for patients like her daughter with the hopes of curbing their social anxiety. She uses a method she calls “target practice” to allow patients to slowly face their fears in social situations. Shannon focuses on realistic social goals like smiling and asking questions as a first step to making patients feel more comfortable socializing with their peers. She notes that parents need to look out for consistent patterns in their children like missing school or social functions. If left untreated, symptoms can get worse, however, if parents catch it, they can prevent or help their children beat a disorder.

 

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Guest:

  • Jennifer Shannon, co-founder, Santa Rosa Center for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Santa Rosa, CA and author, The Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook for Teens and The Anxiety Survival Guide for Teens

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Medical Notes 17-26

 

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