Tomatis ("R. Parncutt" )

Subject: Tomatis
From:    "R. Parncutt"  <psa03(at)CC.KEELE.AC.UK>
Date:    Tue, 24 Mar 1998 16:45:11 +0000

Dear colleagues, For your interest, here is what I found out in response to the following plea: >Does anyone know of any "proper" research that addresses Alfred Tomatis's >therapies, where for example children with hearing, learning, language, >social or musical problems are fed a regular acoustic diet of high-pass >filtered Mozart? I'm thinking not of research by people working in the >Tomatis centres themselves, but rather by independent scholars publishing > in mainstream peer-reviewed journals. *** From: Benont Jutras, jutrasb(at)ERE.UMontreal.CA: There is an article in American Journal of Audiology, Vol. 6, No. 3 (November 1997), pp 39-47. It is about the Auditory Integration training program, developed by Guy Berard. The principle of the program is similar to the Tomatis' therapies. *** From: Stefan Muenkner, stefan.muenk I have done some digging into the Science Citation Index about two years ago to find some proper 'papers' about his work. I didn't find anything valid over several years back into the early seventies, I guess. The only papers I found (about 3 or so) were by himself referencing his own papers in rather unknown journals. Maybe there is some more in the field of clinical research.... *** From: Lorin Wilde The most rigorous research on Auditory Integration Training that I'm aware of is by Dr. Stephen Edelson, Director of Center for the Study of Autism, Inc in Oregon (503-643-4121). I have a preprint of an article that was submitted for peer review; it was based on a study that was carried out at Youville Hospital in Cambridge, MA.; Dr. Edelson kindly invited me and several other researchers to informally observe. Dr. Edelson has worked with Dr. Guy Berard in France, not Tomatis. I will try to follow up on the work on this side of the ocean. My most current references are several years behind. I do have pointers to the following papers: S. Edelson and B. Rimland (1994), American Journal of Speech- Language Pathology in the May issue (Vol.3, No.2); This issue "contains a series of seven articles on various aspects of auditory integration training (AIT) The 41-page section includes papers by researchers, advocates and critics, and thus provides a valuable overall current perspective on AIT." [Autism Research Review International, Vol 8., Number 2, 1994] A pilot study by Edelson and Rimland was to subsequently be published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities. Dr. Edelson also annnounced that he was working on a protocol paper on the "issues to consider when conducting research on the efficacy of AIT." *** From: Edward M. Burns As you have probably already deduced, this Auditory Integration Therapy (AIT) is pure snake oil, with no basis in auditory physiology or psychoacoustics. It is yet more evidence for my theory that, in France, the real scientists are put on one track, and the other ones are put into hearing research. Playing music to autistic et al kids (with or without their silly machine) may have some benefit, but there seem to be almost no studies using this obvious control (their excuse being they can't recruit autistic kids who may end up in a control group). It is being touted as a treatment not just for autism but, in true snake-oil style, for virtually any real or imagined malady, e.g.: "a certain out-of-synch quality," hyperacusis," "lack of energy." There are a bunch of "centers" in Seattle where people with no background in hearing, autism, or essentially anything else remotely relevant, have bought machines and charge thousands of dollars for "treatments." Some of us (at) UW wrote a letter to the Seattle paper after they wrote a positive story about it, but with, of course, absolutely no effect. There was a bunch of pro-con stuff in the May 94, Am J. Speech Lang Ther., and something in a recent "Ear and Hearing" which I am looking for. Also an recent art. by Rankavic et al in a recent JSHR on levels that those machines put out. As far as I can tell there has been no good research on its efficacy, with the appropriate controls. *** And finally, from someone who may wish to remain anonymous: There is an important body of research showing that listening to Mozart causes one to score higher on a number of measures. For example, Sellers & Edwards (1975) showed that listening to Mozart while drinking wine makes a man appear more attractive to a woman, provided the woman also likes Mozart. In independent laboratory tests at the University of Wales, men were perceived to be sexier (J. Christie, 1962), taller (Page & Plant, 1972), and to effuse a better odor (Lancome, 1990) when in the presence of Mozart recordings. Although these effects replicated to Haydn and Handel (Cleese, Idle, & Gilliam, 1973) the presence of recordings by Shostokovich, Stravinsky, and Wagner produced decidedly opposite results. Most compelling however is the research by Boyd, Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe (1997) showing that people who listen to Mozart while listening to the music of Judas Priest, while more likely to commit suicide than control groups, are also more likely to leave highly literate and detailed suicide notes, judged by a panel of independent experts to contain the markers of linguistic "well-formedness" established by Gladitz, Finally, & Dunne (in press). *** That's it for now. Thanks to everyone who responded. _____________________________________________________________________ Richard Parncutt, Lecturer in Psychology of Music and Psychoacoustics, Unit for the Study of Musical Skill and Development, Keele University. Post: Dept of Psychology, Keele University, Staffordshire ST5 5BG, GB. Tel: 01782 583392 (w),01782 719747 (h). Email: r.parncutt(at) Fax: +44 1782 583387. URL:

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