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An Account of a Research Study Participant

Kind to Mind

A while ago I was asked by the founder of a wonderful organisation, called ‘Kind to Mind’, whether they could write an article about their experience of being involved in the psychological research study that was carried out to test the therapeutic value of one of my sculptures.

Kind To Mind is an organisation that uses donations to fund free mental health support for anyone who would like it. They offer workshops and coaching on topics such as anxiety management, mindfulness, personal development mindsets and self-esteem.
So, it felt fitting that they wanted to feature my art, that focuses on enhancing wellbeing, in their blog.

Emma Lyddon founded Kind to Mind in the summer of 2020 and the organisation has gone from strength to strength ever since.
Here’s Emma’s article written about her experience of ‘The Art of Relaxation’ research study. I hope you enjoy reading her account…

The Art of Relaxation: A Psychological Experiment

A month or so ago I was sat having a coffee with a friend who mentioned she knew somebody looking for participants for a psychological research study he was running. Naturally, I said yes and signed up. All I really understood about the study was that it would involve me sitting in a chair and watching an art installation whilst my neuroactivity was recorded.

On arrival, I met Jamie, the mastermind behind the research project and, most importantly, the artist behind the piece in question. In discussion with Jamie, I realised more and more how ‘up my street’ this study was. The research was investigating the extent to which art (in visual and auditory mediums) could somewhat induce a trance-like state of relaxation similar to those experienced in deep meditation or psychedelic drug use.

The piece of art, which was a sound responsive light sculpture, called ‘Essence’, was stunning! It was made from an environmentally friendly eco-resin, its forms replicated fractals from nature (geometric shapes to which the human brain responds to harmoniously) and was lit by ever-changing, sound responsive, light displays. This visual aspect was accompanied by varying frequencies of vocal audio. The piece worked, in short, by matching the light and vocal frequencies projected onto the fractals. It’s a complicated concept to get your head around but the aim of the study was pure.
(For more information, photos and videos of the sculpture, ‘Essence’… Please Click Here).

Since Covid-19, so many people have experienced heightened stress and anxiety which has led to a decrease in wellbeing across the whole human population. Jamie was keen to investigate whether deep relaxation would provide a chance for stressed and anxious individuals to pause and heal, and whether it could be achieved through the power of art. I sat, watched and listened to the piece of art for 9 and a half minutes and without a doubt felt a core sense of relaxation by the second half. Having practised meditation and being familiar with psychological research methods, I allowed my biases to flow naturally and simply experienced the piece for what it was. However, whether placebo, self-induced or a direct result of Jamie’s work, one cannot doubt that by the end of the study I was in a far more relaxed state. This was backed up empirically by the brain wave data demonstrating decreases in delta waves and increases in alpha and beta waves. This demonstrates neurologically how alpha waves correspond to deep relaxation. However, amongst these feelings of rest and healing, a more intense focus could be experienced by the increase in beta waves that were also induced by the sculpture.

Without doubt, the experience was very enjoyable and super interesting. I truly believe, that if expanded on a large scale, Jamie’s work could prove to communities reliant on external substances for relaxation, such as alcohol, that there are healthier ways to relax and improve wellbeing, all stemming from nature.

To see Emma’s original article published on the Kind to Mind blog page… Click Here.

For all other information about the excellent organisation, or to donate to their worthy cause, please check out their website:

For more information on The Art of Relaxation research study, in one of my previous blog posts… Please Click Here.

August 2022