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Saturday, 19 September 2020

How music affects our psychology and well being

  Propertrick       Saturday, 19 September 2020

How does music affect psychology?

One of the most crucial issues in the psychological effects of music is how music affects the emotional experience. Music can evoke powerful emotions such as chills and thrills amongst the listeners.

Positive emotions are what one feels when listening to music. The reward transmitter dopamine is released when one listens to pleasurable music. The easiest way to alleviate mood or relieve stress is to listen to music. People use music in their everyday lives to regulate, enhance, and diminish undesirable emotional states (e.g., stress, fatigue). How does music listening produce emotions and pleasure in listeners?

#1. Music evokes pleasure

Music enjoyment evokes the same pleasure in our brains as other forms of pleasure such as food, sex and drugs. Listening to music cab be reinforcing and addictive. Music is an aesthetic stimulus which can naturally target the dopamine system of the brain.

#2. Anticipation

Music is pleasurable. It may fulfil or violate expectations but is still considered pleasurable. The more unexpected the events in music, the more surprising is the musical experience. We appreciate music that is less predictable and slightly more complex.

#3. Refined emotions

Appreciation of music also involves an intellectual component. The dopamine systems do not work in isolation, and their influence will be largely dependent on their interaction with other regions of the brain. That is, our ability to enjoy music can be seen as the outcome of our human emotional brain and its more recently evolved neocortex. Evidence shows that people who consistently respond emotionally to aesthetic musical stimuli possess stronger white matter connectivity between their auditory cortex and the areas associated with emotional processing, which means the two areas communicate more efficiently.

#4. Memories

Memories are one of the most vital ways in which musical events evoke emotions. According to a late physician, Oliver Sacks musical emotions and musical memory can survive long after other forms of memory have disappeared. Part of the reason for the durable power of music appears to be that listening to music engages many parts of the brain, triggering connections and creating associations.

#5. Tendency towards action

Music often creates strong action tendencies to move in coordination with the music (e.g., dancing, foot-tapping). Our internal rhythms (e.g., heart rate) speed up or slow down to become one with the music. We float and move with the music.

#6. Mimicry of emotions

Music doesn’t only evoke emotions at the individual level, but also at the interpersonal and intergroup level. Listeners mirror their reactions to what the music expresses, such as sadness from sad music, or cheer from happy music. Similarly, ambient music affects shoppers’ and diners’ moods.

#7. Influence on consumer behaviour

Background music has a surprisingly strong influence on consumer behaviour. For example, one study exposed customers in a supermarket drinks section to either French music or German music. The results showed that French wine outsold German wine when French music was played, whereas German wine outsold French wine when German music was played.

#8. Regulation of mood

People crave ‘escapism’ during uncertain times to avoid their woes and troubles. Music offers a resource for emotional regulation People use music to achieve various goals, such as to energize, maintain focus on a task, and reduce boredom. For instance, sad music enables the listener to disengage from the distressing situations (breakup, death, etc.), and focus instead on the beauty of the music. Further, lyrics that resonate with the listener’s personal experience can give voice to feelings or experiences that one might not be able to express oneself.

#9. Perception of time

Music is a powerful emotional stimulus that changes our relationship with time. Time does indeed seem to fly when listening to pleasant music. Music is therefore used in waiting rooms to reduce the subjective duration of time spent waiting and in supermarkets to encourage people to stay for longer and buy more. Hearing pleasant music seems to divert attention away from time processing. Moreover, this attention-related shortening effect appears to be greater in the case of calm music with a slow tempo.

#10. Development of identity

Music can be a powerful tool for identity development. Young people derive a sense of identity from music.

Listening to music can be entertaining, and some research suggests that it might even make you healthier. Music can be a source of pleasure and contentment, but there are many other psychological benefits as well. Music can relax the mind, energize the body, and even help people better manage pain.

The notion that music can influence your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours probably does not come as much of a surprise. If you’ve ever felt pumped up while listening to your favourite fast-paced rock anthem or been moved to tears by a tender live performance, then you easily understand the power of music to impact moods and even inspire action. The psychological effects of music can be powerful and wide-ranging.

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