How the music you listen to affects your life experiences Print E-mail
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Written by By Thamar Jones   
Thursday, 16 November 2017 00:00

I’m a big fan of music, and I listen to a variety of genres and tunes throughout my day. Since music is such a big part of my life, and yours too I would bet, I thought it would be interesting and useful to find out if music has any effect on our personalities, our behavior and our moods.

Many people regularly talk about how music affect the personality and lifestyle of its listeners, ranging from classroom debates to lobbyists lobbying to legally ban or restrict certain kinds of music. While most will agree to the obvious that music does have immediate effects on our thoughts, emotion and mood while being listened to some believe that there is evidence to suggest that the influence reaches deeper. As it turns out recent studies have shown that musical preference may show the listener’s personality, and in turn, affect the personality of a person as well.

One such study from the University of Cambridge showed a method of determining how people think and act based on the music they like to listen to. The study targeted over 4,000 listeners, and used a Facebook personality test app to give the participants a set of questions to determine specific personality traits. After a set period of time, the participants yet again received another questionnaire, this time with 15-second song snippets from 50 songs that represented up to 26 different genres of music, to see how they’d react and what kind of music they’d prefer. The results of both tests were then matched to see if there are patterns and correlations to personalities and music preferences.

As it turned out, there were correlations. Basically, people who prefer slower, smoother music such as R&B and slow jazz are more emotional, while people who prefer faster, more energetic music are more logical and structural, according to the study.

But while music may be a reflection of one’s personality and thinking, can it really affect one’s personality and thinking as well?

Remember how lullabies can make babies (and even adults) fall asleep, and how a school’s theme song in a sporting event can just lift your heart up and get you ready for battle? Those are examples of music affecting one’s emotions. This, we already know. But can music truly, in the long run, affect someone’s personality and behavior?

The answer is YES.

Brainwave entertainment like Brainwave Power Music’s binaural beats and isochronic tones tracks do this regularly. But aside from this, common genres of music are also known to affect the personality regularly, due to their beat, the tones they use, and the overall composition of the pieces of music. And just like the study I talked about above, many studies in the past have also shown this, and have even come up with a list of what certain genres of music do for the person’s mind and personality. Here are a few examples:

1.)    Ambient noise promotes creativity – while this is not specifically a genre of music, many musical pieces, including binaural beats tracks, have ambient noises. It was discovered that moderate volume ambient noise greatly promotes creative thinking and abstract processing. Too loud however, and the brain is impaired and overwhelmed with the auditory information. Listening to this regularly will greatly improve creativity even without musical assistance.

2.)    Worship music alleviates emotional anxieties – sadness, depression, and a constantly negative personality can be alleviated by worship-music. Studies have shown that people who attend fellowships and engage in the listening and singing of worship music have improved levels of happiness and those with anxiety problems have felt improvements in their own personal feelings, after consistently attending and listening to the songs.

3.)    Rock music improves personal motivation – the high energy pace of rock music is not only preferred by systematic people, as indicated above, it also helps in one’s own personal motivation. Constantly listening to rock music greatly strengthens the listener’s emotional and psychological resolve and can help motivate them on a regular basis. Alternatively, people who prefer other equally energetic genres like hip-hop and dance music can also feel the same motivation, as long as it keeps up with a certain tempo and intensity.

The dark side of this is that lyrics can greatly influence the listener as well. Songs with negative lyrics or messages, when constantly listened to, becomes ingrained in a person’s psyche and can be subconsciously recalled. So it is also important to make sure lyrics are taken into consideration when listening to songs.