Apr 05 2010
I, among many others can say being a teenager isn’t easy. As I reflect on my past experiences I’ve come to realize that the music I listened to seemed to reveal how I saw myself as a person during that specific time. Especially in this day and age, it is rare that we don’t come across young adults with their earphones in their ear. Thus, it came no surprise to me when I discovered that an entire branch in psychology was geared toward music. It seemed logical to me that music impacts people. Since, music consists of sounds and many times language which are two factors alone that heavily influence people. Me, being a person heavily reliant on my ipod, researched this branch of psychology and in turn it caused me to question whether music affects our personality. In order to answer this question, I found key ingredients that tend to influence people’s perspectives. This includes music’s effect on behavior, emotion, intelligence, and pain reduction.
Constant music listeners like myself might be surprised to discover that research suggests that our music taste comes from our genes. According to researchers at the Harvard Medical School a baby’s brain is wired for music while still in the womb. At the age of 4 months, discordant notes at the end of a melody can make them squirm and turn away. If they like a lullaby, well, who can’t fail to appreciate a baby’s coo.
However, this research is not concrete evidence that our genes shape our music taste. Other theories focus on music’s long term effect on the brain. In short, evidence suggests that long-term musical involvement causes cognitive rewards and boosts social adjustment. Music exercises the brain. ( Norman Weinberger, University of California)
Why does music provoke such strong emotional responses?
“There is something about music that evolves over time, as do emotions. When we hear the song we re-live the emotional sequence that happened when we first heard it,” says Professor John Sloboda of Keele University and author of Music and Emotion. According to the Psychology Press , Music is a complex acoustic and temporal structure that induces a large variety of emotional responses in listeners.The nature of emotions created by music has been a matter of much debate. Preliminary practical investigations have demonstrated that basic emotions can be recognized in and created by musical stimuli in humans.
Ongoing research has been conducted concerning music’s correlation to human intelligence. A very popular study dealt with the Mozart Effect. The Mozart Effect is a set of research results that indicate that listening to Mozart’s music may induce a short-term improvement on the performance of certain kinds of mental tasks known as spatial temporal reasoning. Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky (1993) investigated the effect of listening to music by Mozart on spatial reasoning . They gave research participants one of three standard tests of abstract spatial reasoning after they had experienced each of three listening conditions: a sonata by Mozart, repetitive relaxation music, and silence. The authors found that the mean standard age scores converted into IQ scores were 8 to 9 points higher after the participants had listened to the music. Rauscher et al. show that the enhancing effect of the music condition is only temporary. This concludes that music doesn’t directly affect a person’s intelligence.
It is not uncommon to hear the term, “Music Therapy.” However, not many people have given much thought as to how music can be therapeutic. According to a paper in the latest UK-based Journal of Advanced Nursing, listening to music can reduce chronic pain by up to 21 per cent and depression by up to 25 per cent. Sandra L Siedlecki from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation conducted a study depicting the effect of music on power, pain, depression and disability. The conclusion of this particular study noted that the patients that were exposed to music reported that their pain had fallen by between 12 and 21 per cent, when measured by two different pain measurement scales. The control group reported that pain increased between one and two per cent.
I’m aware that not everyone listens to as much music as I do and thus it may be too hasty to conclude that music molds everyone’s personality. Time must be taken out to consider the other perspective. That is, that our personality and the culture that we are brought up in influences our individual music taste. Whether culture or personality, one thing is clear, and that is that music is universal amongst humans; it may be used to express one’s mood, it may influence one’s mood, but most of all it is enjoyed by all.
- Aileen Carpenter
Word Count: 568
Keshen, Alex. ” Does Music Affect Teens?.” (2009): n. pag. Web. 4 Apr 2010. <http://behavioural-psychology.suite101.com/article.cfm/is_music_for_more_than_your_ears>.
Cromie, William. “Music on the brain.” (2009): n. pag. Web. 4 Apr 2010. <Music on the brain>.
“How Does Music Impact Our Emotions?.” (1999): n. pag. Web. 4 Apr 2010. <http://www.chordpiano.com/articles-chord-piano/music-emotions-4.htm>.
“Human Intelligence:Mozart Effect.”(2008)n.pag.Web.4Apr2010 http://www.indiana.edu/~intell/mozarteffect2.shtml
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