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BEAR day brings out the best and the brightest

Lillie Barnett gives her presentation on “Stress and Group Cohesion in University Choir” for BEAR Day 2016.
Lillie Barnett gives her presentation on “Stress and Group Cohesion in University Choir” for BEAR Day 2016.

Lillie Barnett, a music and biology major, presented her research of “Stress and Group Cohesion in University Choir” in Fickling Hall on BEAR Day 2016. Barnett said she wanted to find a way to connect her two majors and wanted to pursue the effects music has on a person’s well-being. Her research consisted of three main goals: to measure group cohesion, psychological stress and physiological stress.

Barnett used a Group Environment Questionnaire (GEQ) to measure Mercer University Choir’s group cohesion. The questionnaire was given to participants once a month for a period of three months. Barnett used the Stress Appraisal Measure (SAM) to calculate the singer’s perceived stress. She asked participants to think of their midterm exams while taking the questionnaire to measure their perceived stress for the upcoming tests. The SAM was taken before and after a rehearsal.

The final portion of the research was taking saliva samples from the singers before and after the same rehearsal in which the singers participated in the SAM. Barnett tested the pH levels in the saliva to calculate the amount of physiological stress the singers had during that time. Then, Barnett conducted a statistical analysis of the data using a computer program. The overall conclusion was that singing in the choir promotes lower stress levels.

Taylor Steen mingles with friends after presenting her research paper on H.G Wells’ 'The Time Machine.'

Barnett suggested that this conclusion means singing programs can be implemented in other types of institutions and organizations to help reduce stress levels as well. Richard Kosowski, director of graduate studies and an associate professor in the Townsend School of Music, said that Barnett had planned for this project for over a year. “She’s very detailed in how she presents her findings, and she’s just a great student,” said Kosowski. “I think she has a great future as a researcher."

Taylor Steen presented a research paper she wrote about H.G Wells’ The Time Machine on BEAR Day in Knight Hall. Her paper was about the arrogance of man in the novel, specifically focusing on the arrogance of the time traveler in the book. She described how the Eloi and Morlocks are viewed in the book, and she said they are written in a negative light. “Both groups are flawed, not only by the time traveler’s biased standards, but also by their absolute extreme nature,” Steen said in her presentation. She said the time traveler asserts his thought that he has authority over the Eloi and Morlocks, as well as authority over time itself, reiterating his arrogance. “That’s really arrogant to assume that mankind has this authority over such abstract concepts,” Steen said.


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