IntroductionMusic is basically an abstract form that is devoid of language and open or explicit ideas. Although it says little, music has a great impact on the physical and mental well being of the people and the society as a whole. Individuals tend to like and dislike the sound of music depending on the nature of the music, such as its beats, among other factors. They prefer specific genres and pieces that reflect on the avoidance responses or the basic approach. For instance, most adults tend to like pleasant songs hence they prefer happy-sounding music over the sad ones. Individual personality is also associated with preference for music. For example extraverts prefer energetic, dance music, pop, hard rock, and upbeat. Individuals with high scores on openness to experience tend to prefer nonmainstream genres, such as classical and jazz music. The psychology of music is the branch of musicology and psychology that aims at explaining the musical behavior, inclusive of the process through which music is created, perceived, incorporate into people's daily lives, and responded to by individuals. Music psychology explores music composition, criticism, education, therapy, and performance while analyzing human attitude, creativity, skill, and social behavior. Therefore, the paper seeks to analyze music psychology while addressing the impacts music has on the listeners as they incorporate it in their daily lives.
The Psychology of Music
Music portrays great significance in the lives of the people. It plays an important role in the emotional, mental, and physical well being of human beings from as early as when the baby is still in the womb. The significance of music is attributed to its connection to the limbic system and the autonomic nervous system of the human body, entailing the heartbeat, brain function, and blood pressure, which are central to the psychological functioning of the body. For instance, music has been linked to restoration of memory among individuals and its connection to emotions gives the memories greater meaning. Human memories are always spread across a large area of the brain known as the neurological pathway. Music arouses such memories as it has the ability to activate the large brain areas, hence acting as an effective stimulus. Music therapies have been effective and thus recommended for those individuals who lost their memories and trying to recover them. Music provides the best training to the minds of the patients as it activates the four brain lobes making it a great analyzing tool used in strengthening the neural circuits of the brain.
Historically, music was believed not to induce emotions among listeners. However, recent studies indicate that individuals feel and perceive emotions when they listen to music. Perception and feeling are correlated as listeners tend to feel sad when they listen to music that makes them sad. However, perceived and felt emotions might also differ. For instance, a listener may feel angry in response to pleasant-sounding music, or they may develop positive emotions when they listen to music pieces they do not like. The feelings perceived by individuals result from the suspenseful tension arising from the music. The emotions individuals feel from the music are as a result of its unfolding events. The symphony of the music invokes various patterns of emotions as it triggers the limbic system to emit either positive or negative reactions.
The extent to which individuals perceive and feel emotions in response to music varies from one person to the other. For example, people who are more empathetic are more likely to feel the emotions they perceive when listening to music. The emotions induced from listening to music make it effective in regulating human feelings. An individual can select happy-sounding music when feeling sad to improve their moods. Brain imaging of the limbic system reveals that listening to music arouses specific emotions among individuals depending on their perception of the sound. According to the physiological measures of the brain activity, the more the intensity of the emotional response to music, the more the listeners get absorbed into the music. The intensity of the emotions is affected by other factors such as the age of the listeners whereby older adults exhibit more intense feelings than the young. Familiarity with the music also enhances the intensity of the emotional response to music.
Moreover, music stimulates physical changes among listeners, which results in body movements. There is a natural tendency of individuals experiencing synchronized body movements in response to the music tempo, which may be in form of tapping, dancing or simply bobbing the head. The section of the brain that is highly affected by the music is the region that makes individuals want to move. For instance, when an individual listens to music, especially their favorites, the cerebellum gets highly activated, which thereafter triggers more blood to flow to the regions involved in physical body movements, especially the legs causing them to move along the beats. Its ability to stimulate movements makes it effective for the recovery of the patients suffering from Parkinson's disease. Individuals with Parkinson's disease do not move, but the ability of music to trigger motor reactions makes it useful in the recovery of such patients. in addition to the body movements, listeners tend to imagine that they are part of the show, watching leading to the activation of the visual cortex. The wonderful ability of music to make the body parts to move makes it effective for individuals with mortality problems.
Further, music portrays numerous psychological benefits to the listeners. For instance, it has been associated with increased work productivity. Mild positive emotions or feelings influence the organization of the cognitive material, thus influencing creativity. According to studies, ambient noise from music that is 70 decibels can enhance the creativity of individuals when performing specific tasks. The presence of music in the background helps people generate new and creative ideas as it activates the sections of the brain that function or think in nonfigurative and abstract ways. Music also strengthens the bonds between individuals. When people listen to music, the rhythm alters the brain's neurochemical triggering the release of endorphins and dopamine that responsible for the creation of feelings of excitement. The neurotransmitters enhance the mood of the people resulting in a positive rush of the chemical with those around them. When listening to music together, the bond between individuals strengthens, thus generating the feeling of belonging.Additionally, music helps manage or reduce stress as it induces relaxation and soothes the human mind. According to recent studies, music with up to sixty beats per minute can cause the synchronization of the brain resulting in alpha brainwaves. The alpha brain waves are the ones responsible for the relaxation of the brain resulting in a calming reaction. As much as music has the ability to absorb individual attention, it can also be a distraction to help individuals explore their emotions. Listening to soothing music can help reduce the stress hormone levels and help the mind to shift away from negative thoughts and feelings. Therefore, those suffering from bipolar disorder or depression can listen to music to help in their recovery by raising their moods during their low and worst moments.
Conclusively, music holds great significance in the lives of human beings. Although most people do not recognize the impact music has on them, it has a great impact on vital parts of the body, including the limbic system responsible for feelings and emotions and the autonomic nervous system. the relation of music with the systems of the body makes it beneficial to the psychological well being of the people, including memory recovery, enhancing creativity, fostering relationships between people, and relieving stress, among other benefits. Therefore, music plays a significant role in the psychological functioning and well-being of the people.
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Schafer, Thomas, Peter Sedlmeier, Christine Stadtler, and David Huron. "The psychological functions of music listening." Frontiers in psychology 4 (2013): 511. Retrieved: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/2d07/0c439dd7437ad8d54f49fef176c1470ef32d.pdf
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