Music is an integral part of the human experience. Songs have been sung for centuries, and music plays an integral role in many cultural ceremonies, rites of passage and other traditions. Love songs may be enjoyed on Valentine’s Day and stir up strong romantic feelings that enhance the theme of the day. But why is music so impactful?
Researchers have had an interest in music and its impact on human emotion and perceptions for many years. Music of all genres and styles can be therapeutic and boost mood while bringing listeners pleasure and comfort. Sad music may intensify grief. Music can evoke strong feelings and may influence how individuals perceive other people and things.
According to a recent study by researchers Nidhya Logeswaran and Joydeep Bhattacharya from the University of London, music affects how people see visual images. In an experiment, 30 subjects were presented with a series of happy or sad musical excerpts. After listening to the songs, the subjects were shown a photograph of a face. Some people were shown a happy face – the person was smiling – while others were exposed to a face with sad or neutral facial expressions. The participants were then asked to rate the emotional content of the face. Researchers found that happy music made happy faces seem that much more pleasant, while sad music exaggerated frowns. Similar effects were found with neutral faces.
These findings illustrate how music can help improve physical and mental health when used in concert with other strategies. The American Music Therapy Association reports that music therapy programs can be used to manage stress, enhance memory and alleviate pain.
The right music can serve as a catalyst for romance. Men and women can increase feelings of affection in their romantic partners by playing love songs in the background while offering gifts and tokens of their love. If a proposal is planned for February, one can set the mood with a favorite song that exemplifies the special relationship shared with a significant other. Those who may not be able to express their feelings verbally may find that music helps to convey those feelings.
Music certainly can impact emotions, though the reasons why are not entirely known. However, people can use music to their advantage, particularly on Valentine’s Day.