The Cultures of Failure and Death, Part 2

Continued from The Cultures of Failure and Death, Part 1 :

The more scientifically astute of you will have noticed that 18 mice is a really small sample size, and that playing music 24 hours a day at 90 decibels is unrealistic. Mr. Merrill noticed this, too. So he ran the experiment, modified by what he had learned, for another year.

This time, he bought 72 genetically similar mice from a laboratory, 4-5 weeks old, and weighed them to determine their health, establishing that each mouse weighed between 15 and 20 grams. Then he put each mouse into a separate aquarium, gave them all a week to get settled in, and ran another baseline maze test, and again got an average rate of 590 seconds to solve the maze. Then he divided the mice randomly into three groups, played Mozart for one group of mice, and Anthrax again for the second group of mice, and nothing for the controls, ten hours per day, at a much more reasonable level of 70 decibels.

He ran each mouse through the maze three times a week for four weeks, and here’s what he observed: the control group halved their time from ten minutes to five minutes; the classical group reduced their time to 106 seconds, reducing their time by approximately eight and one-half minutes; whereas the group that listened to Anthrax increased their time to 1,825 seconds, just over one-half hour. There were other abnormalities in the latter group: they did not sniff to determine where other mice had been; they experienced detrimental changes in weight; and they were antisocial (mice are normally a very social bunch of creatures) and then they would suddenly turn and attack a nearby mouse.

When he finished the experiment, Mr. Merrill turned for help to statistician Michael Doviak, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, for analysis. Dr. Doviak ran three different tests, the most telling being the Tukey Studentized Range Test. With this test, a statistically significant value would be p=0.01.

And what were the results from this test? The difference between the classical group and the control group were, in fact, statistically significant at the p=0.01 level, and at the p=0.001 level. The difference between the control group and the Anthrax group were significant at the p=0.001 level; and the difference between the Anthrax group and the classical group was statistically significant at the p=0.0001 level.

Continued in The Cultures of Failure and Death, Part 3.

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