First of all, I would like to take a moment and thank each an every reader, visitor, and classmate who took the time to participate in our class project. We ended up having a total of 73 participants in the short duration the survey was administered and accumulated valuable input during the process.
For our project, we originally got the idea from a LiveScience article talking about how male birds who sing sexy songs to their female partners cause the females to lay larger eggs. Since the class project’s premise was to go out an collect data on a subject loosely tied to evolution (it was for my Basis of Evolution class), we figured a survey on this matter would both be interesting and less mundane than a typical paper/pencil survey. In the survey given, there were eight unlabeled songs that had to be listened to. In actuality, we had a “key” as to which song corresponded to which genre and conducted data trending accordingly. Of our participants, our oldest survey taker was 55 years old and our youngest was 13 years old. Since the survey was mostly conducted on the University of Texas: Dallas campus, the average age of our participants was 22 years of age plus/minus a few years.
During the course of the survey, my team would monitor data progression using a specially designed page which would dynamically compile the stats data. This page would provide us with valuable information such as the average ratings for each song, the most commonly used words to describe music sensuality, and more. I must ask you to excuse me if the page looks messy– again, it was an internally used tool which was not exactly meant to be displayed, but now that the survey is over, you can see for yourself!
Now this stats page actually has an interesting story behind it. See, it worked great and all and showed how the data changed throughout the course of the survey, but it almost proved disastrous for my presentation. The night before the presentation, I replaced the submit button on the survey with a thank you message so that no more data could be collected. In addition, I also commented out the appropriate sections of the form’s PHP file so that no data would be added to the responses file. Well, I am happy to state that my presentation went very well, and I came home with full intention to post this article except– my stats file was blanked! Now of course, one always thinks about backing up after one has already lost data, and this was no difference. I had no way to recover it, and Google had not cached my page yet. This post was originally titled “A Special Thank You, and An Apology” because I could not ask 73 people to retake my survey. Upon investigation, I found that I did not comment all the file handling portions out of the survey’s PHP file, and someone had pressed the submit button, blanking the file. Thank goodness this did not happen during or right before my presentation! At any rate, I did some quick thinking and went a computer lab and exact computer where I had accessed the site previously. I set the browser to offline mode, crossed my fingers, and navigated to the page… and found all the stats intact! I quickly saved the html file which thankfully contained all the accumulated data. Of course, this was not a static page instead of a dynamic page so I set out to fix that. (Yeah, yeah, beggars can’t be choosers, but I wasn’t going to settle for a less than impressive page!) In short, I had to write a C# program to parse the static page back into a response data file for use in the stats page. Good as new!
But anyways, as you can see, the Pop song (song number 1) was rated as the most sensual, closely followed by our Techno song (number 8). Interestingly enough, males and females did not solidly agree on what they perceived as “sensual” but the deviations are fairly small too. Overall however, the opinions regarding the most and least sensual genres matched the female preferences even though more males were surveyed. This implies that the genre preferences were fairly similar between the two sexes and the slight differences for the two could be attributed to cultural memes. (For example, some males thing that Rap is “all that.”)
See, one of the problems we ran into was the definition of “sensuality” or “sexiness.” There are two very different kinds of sensuality that can be expressed. One is the “I love you and want to spend my life with you” kind of sensuality, while the other is more of a “one night stand” kind of sensuality. This intangible definition lowered our average ratings, causing none of them to go over 6. However, if one looks at the mode or medians, there are higher numbers given for the ratings, but the averages were brought down due to the fact that some people interpreted the song with a type of sensuality they liked (causing them to rate it high) or with a type they disliked (causing them to rate it low). To better illustrate my point, why not hear for yourself in the following clips?
Of course, there are also other factors that could have come into play and we would obtain much more accurate data if we surveyed a remote village on an uncharted island. See, animals rely on instinct. Humans… Well they are a little more complicated than that. We have society, memes, and a wide range of emotions to make our decisions a lot less logical. Reading such things in a text book is one thing, but once one has an opportunity to actually collect data in the real world, one realizes things (and flaws!) about their research topic that they had not considered before. In short, it was a great experience which could not be possible without your help.
Once again, thank you all for your time and participation! You have been great contributors to science~