How Music Affects the Way We Perceive the World


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Danielle Nickerson, OwlFeed Lifestyle Reporter

I know it sounds crazy, but think about your favorite song, and try to explain why you like it. There are studies and further information to prove that the music we listen to has a huge impact on us, and how it differentiates in different people.

For example, a study done by the University of Groningen shows that listening to certain sounds can change the way we tend to perceive the world. A 2021 study by researcher Jacob Jolij and student Maaike Meurs of the Psychology Department of the university shows that “music has an even more dramatic effect on perception: even if there is nothing to see, people sometimes still see happy faces when they are listening to happy music and sad faces when they are listening to sad music,” according to Science Daily.

Why is the music we listen to just that important though? Well, you may not realize it, but the music we tend to listen to actually is chosen automatically based upon our moods. This is why it’s important to realize the music you listen to can change your mood for the better. 

The choice of music we choose to listen to doesn’t really have to relate to us at all, maybe you are not a lyrical person, but an “I like the beat” type of person. While talking to Enisha Yannett, an Agua Fria freshman, about our music taste, I asked why she decides to listen to that genre of music. 

“I just like the beat, not really the lyrics, it makes me get in the zone, ya know,” she said. This brings up a really good point as to why the music we listen to can impact us. 

According to a study done by the University of Yale and Hebrew, people that have been diagnosed with depression tend to hold onto those “negative feelings,” saying that listening to slow and mellow music makes them calm and comfortable in their current situation.  

Another study conducted by Inquiries Journal suggested that people who listen to rock tend to have traits of aggressive behavior but only use verbal aggression. This is another reason why aggression is also associated with rock music. 

Recent studies at the University of Queensland (the Australian public research institution in Brisbane) have shown that rock music can actually make its listener calmer, compared to other genres of music like rap or pop. Obviously, it’s so odd to hear that aggressive loud sounds don’t have an effect on us anymore or impact us as much as typical stereotypes assume so, as certain genres of music. 

But, if it affects us emotionally, how does it affect us physically? 

While managing to lower blood pressure and decrease stress, music can overall have a positive impact on our health. While doing an experimental study focused on veterinarians to find if music had affected their moods, in a positive way, as another study showed that having the profession of a vet was one of the most depressing occupations. To see if music had any sort of impact on the job. The researcher found that the veterinary students he was focusing the experiment around, experienced lowered blood pressure, feelings of anxiety, and an improved mood during this experiment because of the music. The test subjects’ blood pressures lowered by 89 percent in all of those who were studied. Unlike the other test subjects in the study. 

All in all, the music we listen to can have an effect on us emotionally and psychically. But I’m sure we both know our feelings for our favorite song will always leave us feeling happy, sappy, or even comforted. Sometimes, it’s just better to hear a song express words that you can’t say.