You are on page 1of 9

How does the mind react to specific kinds of music regarding emotions?

Research Report

How does the mind react to specific kinds of music regarding emotions? Research Report 9-6-2014 Noortje

9-6-2014

Noortje van Nunen, 4Ve

GLC Research Report

Noortje van Nunen, 4Ve

2 3 Literature 3 Practice 3 Results 4 Literature 4 Perceived and felt emotions 4 Differences
 
 

2

3

Literature

3

Practice

3

Results

4

Literature

4

Perceived and felt emotions

4

Differences in pitch and tempo

4

Different emotions to different music styles

4

Music, memories and

4

Practice

4

Analysis and Discussion

5

Literature

5

Practice

5

Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................

6

Literature

6

Practice

 

6

General Conclusion

6

Appendix

7

Bibliography and other sources

8

1
1

GLC Research Report

Noortje van Nunen, 4Ve

GLC Research Report Noortje van Nunen, 4Ve In this research project, I will be researching how

In this research project, I will be researching how the mind reacts to specific kinds of music regarding emotions. We are our mind. There has already been a lot of research with regard to the mind, which includes research to music and the emotional reaction to it. I therefore would like to find out if different kinds of music affect the mind in a different way, regarding emotions.

I believe that different kinds of music affect our minds emotionally in different ways. My hypothesis in this research project is therefore: the mind reacts emotionally different to different kinds of music styles . This is my expectation because, according to me, music is not only heard; it is felt as well. For example, if a song is very emotional or has a very emotional text, you might cry. Or if a song is very happy, you will feel happy while listening to it and a hard rock song might make you angry. The specific styles I will use in this project are: upbeat, happy music and heavy metal music.

That is why I expect that our brain or our mind reacts differently to music styles, so we think or react emotionally different regarding the style of music we listen to at that moment. However, I would like to find sources to see if this is right or wrong.

2
2

GLC Research Report

Noortje van Nunen, 4Ve

GLC Research Report Noortje van Nunen, 4Ve How I went about researching my topic and wherehttp://neurology.about.com/od/NervousSystem/a/Your-Musical-Mind.htm 3 " id="pdf-obj-3-7" src="pdf-obj-3-7.jpg">

How I went about researching my topic and where my information comes from

Literature

  • I have read various articles for this research, such as an article on neurology.about.com by neurology

expert Peter Pressman. 1 In addition, I have analysed a blog made by Belle Beth Cooper called 8

Surprising Ways Music Affects and Benefits our Brains. Both helped me understand more about the different styles of music and the brain reacting to music emotionally.

Practice

However, I also got my information from personal experience, by testing myself.

  • I set up a test at which I listened to aggressive, heavy metal music for half an hour. The volume was not that loud because the music itself was really loud. An example of a song I listened to would be Enter sandman made by Metallica.

After that, I listened to happy, upbeat music for half an hour. The volume this time was the same loudness as the previous style. This time, I listened to songs such as Michael Bublé’s It’s a beautiful day.

3
3

GLC Research Report

Noortje van Nunen, 4Ve

A presentation of my raw data

Literature Perceived and felt emotions 2 Even short pieces of happy or sad music can affect us. One study showed that after hearing a short piece of music, participants were more likely to interpret a neutral expression as happy or sad, to match the tone of the music they heard. This also happened with other facial expressions, but was most notable for those that were close to neutral. Something else that’s really interesting about how our emotions are affected by music is that there are two kind of emotions related to music: perceived emotions and felt emotions. This means that sometimes we can understand the emotions of a piece of music without actually feeling them, which explains why some of us find listening to sad music enjoyable, rather than depressing. Unlike in real life situations, we don’t feel any real threat or danger when listening to music, so we can perceive the related emotions without truly feeling them.

Differences in pitch and tempo 3

In this happysad distinction task, the pitch intervals (defining the mode) were not the only cue that the subject could use to recognize the emotion; the tempo was also available. To the extent that amusical subjects can derive the tempo of music, they should be able to attribute the correct

emotional label to the 24 original excerpts.

(side note: this is a text about people with a special

disease because of which they cannot understand music. I used only this piece of text)

Different emotions to different music styles 4 For example up-tempo, energetic songs for feeling motivated. Music affects our emotions. We tend to listen to music that reflects our mood. 5 When we’re happy we may listen to upbeat music; when we’re sad we may listen to slower, moving songs; when we’re angry we may listen to darker music

with heavy guitar, drums, and vocals that reflect our level of anger

Music, memories and emotions In a survey, people were asked “From a scale of 1-10, how much does music remind you of emotional memories?”. More

than half of the people rated this question with more than a 7.

Practice

  • I did experience a different feeling whilst listening to the

different styles.

  • I always get really happy while listening to Michael Bublé’s It’s

a beautiful day because of the happy, upbeat tempo so overall

  • I felt happy and joyous while listening to happy, upbeat music.

On the other hand I got really angry while listening to heavy metal. I frowned that whole half hour and got angry over nothing really. However, I also felt a rush going through me, as if the music was trying to give me a boost. Funnily, after I had put off the music, my room was suddenly very silent.

4
4

GLC Research Report

Noortje van Nunen, 4Ve

The analysis and discussion of my result in relation to my hypothesis
The analysis and discussion of my result in relation to my hypothesis

Literature

Looking at my hypothesis and my results from the articles, some differences and similarities can be found. At first, a difference is that I expected that music is not only heard, it is felt as well. According

to the blog by Belle Beth Cooper, this is not entirely true. She states that music is not felt, the feelings are perceived. In addition, the feelings felt during a song or a specific music style can be based on memories that come with that music instead of the actual music itself. Another difference that can be found is that I assumed that music affects our emotion, whilst the

article “How Music Impacts, Helps Our Emotions” by Nathan Feiles claims that we tend to listen to

music that reflects our mood. So it is not that we listen to music that changes our emotion, it is that

we listen to music that fits our mood or emotion at that time. However, the article also claims that music does affect our emotion, for example we listen to up-tempo songs when we want to feel motivated, so according to this article I am right as well as wrong. A similarity between my hypothesis and my results is that I expected that we think or react emotionally different regarding the style of music we listen to at the moment. This is confirmed by

Julie Ayotte, Isabelle Peretz and Krista Hyde in the article “Congenital amusia”. They state that the

difference in pitch and tempo changes the emotion we feel (or perceive) whilst listening to a specific

music style.

Practice

(see the picture at “Appendix” of the research for extensive information)

According to my practice experience, my hypothesis was correct. I did experience a different feeling whilst listening to heavy metal and up-beat music, just as I expected. Although I did not feel the music, I did react emotionally different to the two styles.

5
5

GLC Research Report

Noortje van Nunen, 4Ve

GLC Research Report Noortje van Nunen, 4Ve Conclusion(s) drawn from my research Literature Many conclusions canhttp://www.2knowmyself.com/Psychological_effect_of_music/Psychology_of_music_songs_III See appendix 6 " id="pdf-obj-6-7" src="pdf-obj-6-7.jpg">

Conclusion(s) drawn from my research

Literature

Many conclusions can be taken from the various sources I have used in the research. First of all, the conclusion of perceived and felt emotions is that we can actually understand the emotions of a piece of music without actually feeling them. So we know the emotion that the song expresses but we do not feel it ourselves. However, this does not mean that this is the same for everyone. You could actually feel the emotion of a song yourself, for example when you can relate to a song or the lyrics of a song because you are going through the same process. Secondly, from the piece differences in pitch and tempo can be concluded that the pitch and tempo define the emotion of the song. As seen in the picture in the appendix, musicians use different kind of pitches and beats to create a certain emotion. 6 The third piece, different emotions to different music styles, suggests that music affects our emotions. Yet, it also states that we tend to listen to music that reflects our mood. Although the last statement is also made in another article 7 , it cannot be concluded which of the two is true. Does music affect our emotions or does our music choice reflect our mood? I tend to believe the first one, but seen from the first piece, it could also be that I do not really feel the emotion, I just perceive it, which would mean that music does not affect our emotions. Finally, from the survey it can be concluded that music does not trigger our emotions directly: it triggers the memories that come with the music. These memories can range from sad memories, such as a funeral, to fun memories, such as a wedding or a very fun rollercoaster ride.

Practice

The result from my personal experience is that I did feel different whilst listening to two different kinds of music. On the one hand I felt happy and excited and on the other hand I felt angry, but boosted. According to me, I felt different listening to the two styles. However, it cannot be concluded that everyone else feels or experiences the same. Everyone has a different mind and likes different music. 8 There might also be a difference between boys and girls or between different cultures, but that would be a topic for my a follow-up research. Furthermore, it cannot be assumed that I actually felt like that. It could be that the heavy metal just provoked my unconsciousness. Maybe I was angry at something in the back of my mind and I did not know that and the heavy metal just provoked that feeling. So from my personal experience, it can be assumed that, for me personally, I reacted emotionally different to the two styles.

General conclusion

So, the opinions on the relation between music and emotion vary. Some claim that music affects our emotions whilst others state that it is the other way around: emotions affect our music choice. A total other approach to this, is that it is not the music that triggers our emotions, it is the underlying memories that come with the music that triggers our emotions. I have not picked a side yet, however

  • I do agree with the statement that the pitch and tempo define the emotion we perceive during a song. Personally, I experienced the same as the first piece stated: some emotions are not felt, they

are perceived. I do not think that I actually felt the emotions of the song that I listened, I assume that

  • I knew, because of the pitch and the tempo, that the songs had different emotions and that is why I perceived that. Yet, I can never be entirely sure.

  • 6 See appendix

  • 8 See appendix

6
6

GLC Research Report

Noortje van Nunen, 4Ve

GLC Research Report Noortje van Nunen, 4Ve Information that does not fit in any of my

Information that does not fit in any of my other categories

6 This table shows a musicians’ use of acoustic cues when communicating emotion in music performance and relations between emotions and psychophysiological responses. Abbreviations: c-change; n-normal

GLC Research Report Noortje van Nunen, 4Ve Information that does not fit in any of my

8 This chart is from the same survey as the other pie chart. This chart shows that happiness has a different meaning for everyone and that happiness comes with different music styles for different people. So the music that makes me feel happy (upbeat music), does not make everyone feel happy. As you can see, some people feel happiness while listening to rock, whilst I absolutely do not.

7
7

GLC Research Report

Noortje van Nunen, 4Ve

All the sources I’ve used
All the sources I’ve used

Front-page:

Note: I used most sources to get an overall view of the subject.

8
8