How Music Influences Our Actions, Feelings and Thoughts
Perhaps prior to this article, most people would have doubted the role of music in influencing their overall behavior, through their actions feelings and thoughts. However, psychologists believe that music does more than entertain, to sway human behavior by targeting the brain.
Listening to music significantly affects human behavior in a variety of ways, an effect that can be either voluntary or involuntary and, therefore, sometimes visible or invisible. This effect has baffled scientists for decades wondering how something as abstract as music can provoke such consistent responses.
At USC (University of Southern California), and using artificial intelligence, a group of computer scientists and psychologists teamed up to investigate this claim, only to unveil interesting facts about the nexus between music and human behavior.
The research utilized 74 musical features to study a group of volunteers’ heart rate, galvanic skin response, brain activity as well as subjective feelings of happiness and sadness. They established that dynamics, register, rhythm and harmony are vital predictors of the listeners' response. They also noted that Heschls' gyrus and the superior temporal gyrus are some parts of the brain that are powerfully influenced by music.
Here, the brain responds to the strength of the beat simply known as pulse clarity. Uptick in response, such as gyri activation as a result of a change in dynamics, or "loudness", is a function of various factors mainly the introduction of new instruments, and rhythm and timbre.
The team also discovered that there was galvanic skin response where an increase in sweat was recorded following a start of a musical crescendo or the entrance of a new instrument. From the investigation, the number of listeners that respond to a song was directly proportional to the number of instruments in the song. Thus, fewer instruments can only stimulate emotional responses in fewer people, and vice versa.
This study communicates a lot about human brain. Since the brain is a key driver of human actions, it makes sense that once it is influenced in some way the overall human behavior simultaneously responds to this influence.
The findings from the investigation carried out by the USC team are enough proof that musical stimuli (and particular songs) can be designed to for specific settings as a solution to common human problems. For instance, particular rhythm, harmony, and beat, can be used to induce emotions of sleep, study, and other therapeutic applications such as easing pain, calming anxiety, as well as depression and other mood disorders.
Based on the paper, titled "A Multimodal View into Music's Effect on Human Neural, Physiological, and Emotional Experience," by the University of Southern California.
Written by Lingjun Zhou & Edited by Alexander Fleiss