JOURNALISM, SCIENCE AND MUSIC
posted by James Reel
Here's a valuable post from Slate's culture blog reminding us how bogus much reporting on science can be. Actually, the post is about how bogus scientific studies of music can be--remember how the popular "Mozart Effect" was pretty thoroughly debunked?--but the core issue comes down to sloppy science reporting in the popular media. Too often, we read in the newspaper some shorthand report on an as-yet unreplicated study that overstates or oversimplifies the preliminary findings. Then, there's no follow-up reporting when further studies support, amplify or disprove the original findings. So every month we see some article about a new study showing that some common substance causes cancer, and then there's another article about another study showing that some obscure berry will add 50 years to our lives. My advice: Watch the reliable science-specialist media for further information. And always be cautious about studies that purport to explain how music works. I'm not saying it's impossible to figure out, but the explanations tend to be facile reasoning by people who don't really know anything about music.