What Does Music Mean to You?

Along with a former stu­dent, I’m run­ning a study on the rela­tion­ship between music and per­son­al­ity. I can’t say too much more about it at this stage–otherwise I’d have to kill you, or at least quar­ant­ine your data–but if you could see your way to filling in our 10-minute sur­vey, that would be great. You’d be doing your bit for sci­ence.

The sur­vey is here.

Writers! I need YOU

My day job has the title ‘psy­cho­logy lec­turer’, which means dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent people. Part of my time is spent con­duct­ing research. I’m involved in quite dis­par­ate top­ics: one minute I’m help­ing prove dogs can be a bit thick; the next I’m try­ing to fig­ure out fun­da­ment­als of the lan­guage pro­cessing sys­tem.

Since September, I’ve been look­ing into the psy­cho­logy of fic­tion. It’s a vast top­ic. From the per­spect­ive of the writer, one small part involves the cre­at­ive act of get­ting words on paper. What pro­cesses are involved?

Writers! I need YOU.

Are you inter­ested in con­trib­ut­ing to the wobbly, baroque edi­fice that is sci­ence? I’d like to run a study look­ing into cre­ativ­ity and writ­ing. I can’t say much more at this stage. But if you’re inter­ested, please let me know. This won’t involve any great time invest­ment, and there’s no need to vis­it my lab.

Small print: You’ll need to be over eight­een, have nor­mal or cor­rec­ted-to-nor­mal vis­ion, and be a nat­ive English speak­er.

★ The End of the Beginning

My, hasn’t time flown? I sat down to update my blog this after­noon cer­tain in the know­ledge that my last entry was about a month ago. It turns out I pub­lished my retire­ment speech in mid August.

I thought it would be worth­while provid­ing an update on my books. Several people have been kind enough to ask after them. As you know, I’m intend­ing to release them as free ebooks, but one or two prob­lems have cropped up in the course of mak­ing this hap­pen. The main issue is that releas­ing Deja Vu (orFlashback, or The Amber Rooms) for the Kindle — my pre­ferred ebook read­er — seems to require a US bank account. That is, it requires a US bank account if I want the book to be the ebook store, which I do. Stephen J Sweeney has poin­ted me in the dir­ec­tion of a pos­sible ser­vice that might let me do this and keep the books free; I’ll get round to look­ing at that in the New Year.

One option is to leave the ebook files as naked links, here on my webpage, but I doubt most people would find their way here and have the tech­nic­al know-how to trans­fer the con­tent to their device. The store is still the best way to go.

Meanwhile, there are some­what irrit­at­ing defi­cien­cies in the file formats used by ebook read­ers and the vari­ous tools that a user can use to cre­ate them. To take one example, I used Apple Pages to cre­ate an ebook of Deja Vu and it rendered fine on the iBook applic­a­tion for the Apple iPad. Then Apple released an update to the applic­a­tion and sud­denly the ebook has extra line spaces. Go fig­ure.

Am I writ­ing fic­tion? That would be telling. I cer­tainly have more time for blues gui­tar, learn­ing a bit of pro­gram­ming, and con­cen­trat­ing on my aca­dem­ic career. Happy New Year to one — and, indeed, all.