View Full Version : Why does music affect people so much emotionally?
09-20-2003, 09:47 PM
i know this is an odd question. but is there a scientific (scientific, but still in plain english, that is) explanation for the psychological affects of music on people? what makes it so "hypnotic"? that last statement might make people think i'm crazy, but seriously have you noticed how some songs just make you feel so "prt of the music"? okay, i keep making this worse the more i say, don't i? i guess i'm just a really musical person. and i know smoking weed also makes people more affected by the music... some to the point where it seems that's all they can think of during their intoxication.
09-20-2003, 10:25 PM
Music has a psychological effect on people because it was designed that way; music was created because it created emotion.
Smoking weed may well make people more susceptible to music, but I cannot comment on why this may be.
09-20-2003, 11:05 PM
Don't remember any good information, but I'd guess that music mimics the tones that humans use to express their emotion.
Vaguely remember that when fractals became pop, there was talk that some music was fractal and that humans respond to fractal patterns.
Hoping someone else has better information. This is an interesting question.
09-20-2003, 11:06 PM
Music has a physiological effect too. It can affect your heart rate, your mood, and even your driving.
09-21-2003, 10:43 AM
Its because its such an expressive and energetic medium that it communicates emotional moods so well.
I think because there is so much physical sound-energy that is absorbed (by the whole body unless you're using headphones) when listening to music that this conveys the song-writer's message very emotively, more emotively than something which was intended to convey the same thing through a less energetic medium (ie painting or prose).
I mean a painting just doesn't have the energy of a song even though it may be even more expressive.
Deep bass has an extremely physical effect, you'll know if you've ever been to a good concert or club night. A good bassline sends the tingles up my spine.
Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party
09-21-2003, 11:29 AM
09-21-2003, 12:33 PM
There are a number of conjectures and really no convincing explanation. The real question is what is the evolutionary advantage to our emotional response to music? And if there is none and it is a true spandrel (a feature left over from the evolution of some other useful feature--the prototype example is the panda's "extra" rear thumb where the extra front thumb is used and presumably evolved for stripping bark from bamboo, while the rear thumb just went along for the ride), then what did it evolve for? No convincing anwer or even particularly plausible solution has ever been proposed.
BTW, it is not a dumb question, but a very profound one. For example, why do nearly all people agree in preferring harmonies to dissonances (certain 12 tone composers excepted).
09-21-2003, 12:50 PM
I think it's something we are taught. I remember a grade school music class in which a teacher played movements from different pieces and explained the feelings the composer was trying to communicate.
I realize that may be an over simplification.
But is it Lisa?
Is it really?
09-21-2003, 02:08 PM
randwill, if your theory is true, then why did my sister (and now her 16-month-old daughter) always respond to "sad" and/or "scary" music the way they did starting as early as age one before they hardly even understood english? she is one of the most music-sensitive people i know. i play piano, and whenever i play a pretty song or a demo on my keyboard that's kind of "minory", she finds it extremely depressing whereas i just think it's pretty.
09-22-2003, 03:14 AM
according to G. Millers "The Mating mind" (well worth a read), music is a sort of behavioural peacocks tail, useless in itself, but useful displaying your sexual fitness - which is why most musicians are male. The emotional response is just a mechanism to make you listen to it and judge the musician. see http://human-nature.com/nibbs/02/mm.html for a review of the book.
II Gyan II
09-22-2003, 04:28 AM
It's being discussed at Plastic right now (http://www.plastic.com/article.html;sid=03/09/20/21191512;cmt=48)
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