Are Cognitive Styles an Important Factor in Design of Electroacoustic Music Software?

Barry Eaglestone, Nigel Ford, Peter Holdridge, Jenny Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores cognitive style as one of the factors that may explain tensions that can exist between individual electroacoustic composers and the software they use. The discussion centres on a survey, conducted using a web-based questionnaire, of composers' cognitive styles and approaches to composition. This survey was motivated by a previous qualitative study of composers, in which two established composers unexpectedly revealed differences that mapped remarkably well onto one of the key dimensions of cognitive style identified in the psychological and cognitive literature, namely global and analytic. The results suggest that there are characteristic cognitive style traits within the electroacoustic composer community which correlate with particular approaches to composition and also to levels of satisfaction with composition software. Thus we propose a new area of research, namely, usability studies of computer music software that is sensitive to cognitive styles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-85
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of New Music Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


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