The Effect of the Flotation Version of Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique (REST) on Jazz Improvisation


  • Oshin Vartanian PhD
  • Peter Suedfeld PhD, FRSC



The flotation version of restricted environmental stimulation technique (REST) has been shown to improve perceptual-motor skills in sports and creativity in the sciences. We examined whether these effects would extend to jazz improvisation—an activity involving perceptual-motor coordination and creativity. College students enrolled in an intermediate-level jazz improvisation class (N 1⁄4 8) floated for one hour per week for 4 consecutive weeks. The comparison group (N 1⁄4 5) consisted of student volunteers enrolled in the same class who did not engage in flotation. The dependent variables were (a) blind ratings of improvised pieces collected before and after treatment, (b) instructors’ ratings of perceived change in improvisational ability, and (c) final class grades. Both blind and perceived change measures demonstrated higher scores on technical ability in the flotation group. The flotation group also had higher final class grades. The results suggest that flotation REST can improve perceptual-motor skills in jazz improvisation.

Author Biographies

Oshin Vartanian, PhD

Oshin Vartanian, PhD, is a defence scientist at DRDC Toronto. He is also a adjunct assistant professor at the University of Toronto, ON, Canada.

Peter Suedfeld, PhD, FRSC

Peter Suedfeld, PhD, FRSC, is a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of British Columbia, BC, Canada.



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