The Effects of the TOMATIS Listening Training on the Spatial Sense Hilde Tinkl, Gamboa, Panama 2011 In autumn 2008 I had been asked to accompany a psychology student at the University of Vienna working on her diploma thesis. Professor Dr. Georg Gittler, a pianist and psychologist, specialized on spatial senses, and his student Ulrike Koller contacted my Tomatis centre. I discussed different possibilities of cooperation and finally we decided to cooperate in this research project. Ulrike Koller drew a random sample of people, who wanted to join up the project. The Tomatis Centre Vienna performed the full listening programs for them without any financial support from outside. The attendants of the study received a Tomatis Listening Program free of charge. They only had to take the time for coming to our centre. Nevertheless it had been quite difficult to motivate them to come every day. This research project had been a large effort for my team and me. The worth of the listening trainings had been approximately 35.000 â‚Ź. In the first part of my presentation I want to tell you more about the "spatial sense", about the spatial perception capability. The world of sounds we are living in is a world of spatial diversity. Experience and handling of space are governed by our spatial sense, which is an important condition for human ability and intelligence. Unfortunately there is no clear definition of the term "spatial sense". There are various definitions in research work, for example: â€˘ Spatial sense includes visualization, spatial relations and spatial orientation.
• Spatial sense includes spatial perception, mental rotation and spatial visualization. • Then spatial ability is defined as a "non-verbal ability" which includes spatial orientation and spatial sense. Spatial orientation is the ability to keep structures in mind and to recognize them in complex designs. • And finally: spatial ability is necessary for the solution of mathematical and natural scientific problems, but also for acoustic demands. The research question f the study had been: Does the Tomatis Listening Program have effects on the spatial sense? How about long-term effects? The Study Design Altogether we got the data of 60 persons aged from 16 to 62. They were tested three times: at the beginning, after the Tomatis Listening Programme and three months later. Thirty of them joined the Tomatis group; the others formed the control group. The dispersion of gender you can see here: Tab. 1 – Dispersion of gender in control and Tomatis group Sample (n = 60)
This following graph shows the research design:
Picture 2 – Diagram of the design for the Tomatis group (VG) and the control group (KG) at the three points of time t1, t2 and t3
The probands first had to come to the centre for a SAPP and then they had been tested by Ulrike Koller. I will tell you more about these special psychological tests regarding the spatial sense later. The Tomatis Program consisted of two parts of 10 days each and a break of 4-6 weeks between them. The programming was completely individual; it was not a group program! Therefore I cannot give you any details about the listening curves and the programming here as this would be too much for this presentation. At the end of the Tomatis Listening Program we performed the second test and after three months the third psychological test. The control group had the same tests at the same time, but did not make any Tomatis training. As I already mentioned I now want to explain the two tests used for the scientific evaluation. The first one is the “Three-dimensional Cube Test (3DW)” (Gittler, 1990) and the other one is the “Infinite Loop Test (EST)” (Gittler & Arendasy, 2003). Both tests are Raschhomogenous, which means that all the tasks measure the same latent dimension of ability within the whole group of probands.
The Three-dimensional Cube Test (3DW) This is one of the most important psychological tests for the registration of spatial perception abilities. You can see one cube and six other cubes that have different designs on each of their six sides. Only three sides of each cube are visible. You have to reflect, if one of the six cubes could be a twisted version on the first one. Only one or also none of the six cubes can be the correct one. You also have the possibility to answer “no cube is matching” or “I don`t know”. So there is no need to guess.
Picture 3 – Item of the 3DW (Gittler, 1990)
The Infinite Loop-Test (EST) The probands get two pictures of three-dimensional figures of infinite loops: a starting picture and a target picture. In mind they should try to turn the starting loop image into the target loop image. Then they have to tell around how many degrees (90° or 180°) and into which direction (up, down, left, right) the starting loop has to be turned to get the target loop figure. The hereby induced mental processes correspond to the construct of the spatial visualization capacity, because here verbal support
strategies cannot be used efficiently and spatial perception prevails detail perception.
Picture 4 – Item of the EST (Gittler & Arendasy, 2003)
Now I want to talk about the aims of both tests and their differences. Both tests investigate the perception. The achievements tested by the 3DW can be explained by: • Visualization • Reasoning • Spatial Relations The achievements tested by the EST can be explained by: • Visualization • Visual Memory • Strategy of perspective changes The 3DW requires an analytical or holistic mental strategy of rotation. You have to be able to image rotations in space.
However, for the EST tasks you need a strategy to change the perspective and viewpoint - analytical, holistic or mixed. You have to figure out another perspective than the one which is shown. The Tests Results Now I would like to show you the results of the psychological tests. I just want to mention again that I will not present any details about the Tomatis Listening Tests and the programming as they have no significance for the study, because all probands have received individual programs. The following result diagrams have been calibrated in a way that both groups start from the same base line at the first test at time t1. So you can easily see the effects of the effect of the treatment. 3DW At time t1 both groups have the same abilities to solve the 3DW test. At the second test (t2, after 80 units of Tomatis) the Tomatis group has a two times, after three months even a four times higher spatial capabilities than the control group. This result clearly proves that a Tomatis training indeed has a positive influence on the spatial perception abilities tested by the 3DW. The performance of the Tomatis group has improved significantly. Therefore one can conclude that a Tomatis treatment causes a long-term effect for the improvement in the spatial ability.
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Picture 5 â€“ Illustration of the relation of chances of KG and VG concerning the possibility of solving an item in the 3DW
EST The results of the EST are different. At the beginning t1 both groups have the same results again. The second test at t2 shows a 1.7 higher performance of the Tomatis group. However, three months later the results are almost equal and the Tomatis group has only a minimal advantage of 1.129 to 1. This result shows that the Tomatis training has a positive effect on the spatial ability tested in the EST. But this improved performance immediately after the training again declines within the following three months. So these results show no long-term effect as the 3DW test. 1 1
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Picture 6 â€“ Illustration of the relation of chances of KG and VG concerning the possibility of solving an item in the EST
Interpretation and Discussion The results show significant improving effects of the Tomatis Program on spatial perception sense. It is interesting to note that differences in the timely development have been discovered depending on the applied test material. The analysis of the 3DW test shows a long-term effect comparable with the "Extended Tomatis Effect" that had been shown by Mould (1985), Kershner (1986) and Du Plessis (1988) in relation with reading and writing disorders, speech performance and anxiety disorders. Also the analysis of the EST data shows a positive effect, but the long-term effect cannot be confirmed. Finally the question is remaining, why the effects of the Tomatis Listening Program on the spatial sense are different in both psychological tests. The sequence of the tests is not considered as having any influence. But an explanation can be found at Arendasy (1997), who compared the 3DW and the EST tests concerning the required strategies of adaption. He stated that resolving the 3DW test tasks requires beside spatial capabilities especially reasoning abilities. These are rarely required for in the EST. Consequently it can be concluded that the long-term effects of the Tomatis Program can be mainly explained by its effect on the spatial reasoning abilities. It would be interesting to explore, if additional spatial perception training besides the Tomatis training could possibly improve the spatial sense permanently also in the area that did not improve so much after the Tomatis training. Finally I want to point out what the probands reported about their personal impressions during and after the Tomatis listening training: â€˘ better structure and clearness
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increased ability to solve problems more self-awareness and self-confidence improved communication abilities inner balance, calmness and stability less anxiety
We know all these reactions from our daily Tomatis work. Most people report such changes in their lives after a Tomatis listening training. These findings can also support the significant improvements shown by the psychological tests explained before. It shows that the Tomatis work in our centres constitutes the fundamental base on which various other therapies can build. Therefore it is a great pleasure for me to keep on exploring the effects of the Tomatis Method further on. I am currently discussing a follow up study with Professor Gittler and a psychology student that should further investigate the presented results. This student Carina Cerwinka is already working in my centre since six years and therefore can also bring in her personal experiences with the Tomatis Method. For this study we plan to include the tests now offered by Tomatis Developpement that should allow extending the scope of the study. Thank you for listening and let me invite you to take advantage of the presented test procedures for further studies for our Tomatis Method.