Courtney Allan


4 ways music can impact your emotions

4 ways music can impact your emotions

People experience a range of emotions while listening to music, whether it be smiling, laughing or crying.

As music is common in our everyday lives, the way music makes the listeners feel is a vital factor as to whether or not they enjoy what they’re listening to.

There are four psychological principles that explain listeners’ emotional reactions to music, according to Psychology Today.

1. The startle effects

The startle effects mean that our brainstem reflexes are hardwired for quick and automatic responses to loud noises. Sometimes, those responses can be associated with surprise, laughter or fear.

People who suffer from anxiety disorders are jumpier, which means that you may jump in surprise by a loud noise during a concert.

2. Emotional contagion

This means that as human beings, we have a tendency to “catch” the emotions of others when perceiving their emotional responses. If you’ve ever come away from an anxious person feeling more anxious yourself after the conversation, this is emotional contagion.

Therefore, when you attend concerts, your emotions are influenced by the people present. The singers and performers also express non-verbal emotion contagion effects as this suggests that the musician cannot move unless the crowd moves with them.

3. Emotional events

Your response to music is conditioned by the context that you give to the song. Conditioning is a powerful source of emotion in music. For example, people may love a particular song as it reminds them of a wedding or a graduation. As you’ve associated an emotion to a particular song, you’re not likely to forget these emotional events.

When the memory is evoked by listening to the song again, so are the associated emotions with that song. That’s why many people listen to music to remind themselves of past events.

4. Positive feeling

For the most part, music makes us feel good. Positive feelings that are brought through music tend to broaden our mindset in ways that are beneficial to health and creative thinking.

Music works even more rapidly and intensely upon the mind than any art simply because it requires so little conscious reflection.