The objective of the study was to evaluate the effect of preferred music on the systematic thinking, decision making, problem-solving, depression, cognitive skills, and the psychological aspects of music. The feelings and effect which the individuals experience depend on the preferred music and the barriers which they overcome to have improved positive effect as a response to the music. Therefore, the study intended to assess the choice and preference of music in a specific mood and the evaluation of the cognitive performance and the effect which is experienced after listening to the music.
The participants are allowed to choose their music according to their taste and demand which was a source of the change in their mood and affect the mental capacities. The demand and preference of music present a challenge for the individuals who experienced changes in their cognitive effect, creativity, problem-solving, systematic analysis, and selective attention (Chen, Sung, Lee, & Chang, 2015).The music therapy is of interest in this regard because these are implications which are of interest to the therapists due to the relationship between cognitions and emotions with the music. There have been various studies which have provided evidence of the effect of music on the listener, and it varies from one to other depending on the type of music an individual is interested in.
Although music was considered as a source of relaxation and entertainment in the early years, today there are students who often prefer listening to music when they are studying and some people consider that it helps them concentrate on the task. The therapists and psychologists are practically using music therapy on their clients to provide them a relief from depression because music changes the emotions and mood of the individual in some time (Hallam, Price, & Katsarou, 2002). The researchers have provided evidence that music is known to decrease the levels of stress because the release of cortisol is diminished while listening to music and thus level of depression and frustration decreases. During the process of listening to music, many patients with chronic depression have demonstrated a lowering in the activity of stress in the scans of electroencephalogram (EEG) (Zwaag, Dijksterhuis, Waard, Mulder, Westerink, & Brookhuis, 2012).
Similarly, the mood, cognitive performance, and productivity increases while one is listening to music and the individual experiences positive effect due to increase in the level of endorphin and serotonin. In different studies, the results revealed that the type or genre of music affected the moods and behaviors of individual likewise and they expressed their emotions in relevance to the music they listen which affected their moods in positive, negative, hostile, and aggressive manner. The type of music which an individual listens most of the time also plays an important role in the mood and cognitive effects because one is exposed to a certain type of music rather than distributed in different genres (Chen, Sung, Lee, & Chang, 2015).
Likewise, the preferences develop depending on the choice of music, for instance, an individual who is interested in rock music switches to rock songs and bands, while the one who likes pop or classical music tunes into the preferred music choice. Students often prefer listening to familiar music while they are studying because it helps them concentrate and their attention is focused while on the other hand, the new music is likely to distract and on attempts to understand the lyrics etc. Another important consideration is individual differences, but not in response, rather in the reaction towards the music because there are individuals who have significant effects on the memory, mood, and cognitions when they listen to music (Hallam, Price, & Katsarou, 2002).
While others often listen for the sake of entertainment and their emotions are not influenced by the type of music they listen because at times people are least interested in the context of the song. Therefore, the researchers have provided with proposals that the preferred music leads to an increase in positive or negative mood depending on the type of music and in another case, when the individuals listen to music in which they are least interested leads to a decrease in the mood. There is a relationship between the emotions which are perceived from the music and the actual experience of emotions. It depends on the choice, as some people feel good when they listen to happy, rock, and romantic music while others experience lively moods when they listen to gloomy, sad, and dreary music (Schellenberg, Nakata, Hunter, & Tamoto, 2007).
The cognitive and mental health of the individual is quite prevalent from the type of music one prefers to listen and it reveals different aspects of personality as well. The brain imaging studies have provided with a different response of the neural systems which play role in the regulation of mood and the emotions are expressed accordingly. Often the people who have poor regulation of the emotions prefer the music which is gloomy and is consistent with their emotions. Cognition and mood are quite consistent with each other because they have their neural systems associated with each other and they are regulated by music (Lesiuk, 2010).
The researcher sought permission from the concerned authorities to conduct the study at Montclair State University. The survey was collected from 20 participants in the class who agreed to the informed consent and were willing to participate in the study. The participants were briefed on the purpose of the study and then the participants were divided into two groups on the basis of their moods which were happy or sad before they listened to the music and the survey was administered again after the participant’s listened music. The participants were subjected to both happy and sad music and the mood was observed and reported throughout the experiment.
The participants walked in the assessment area well prepared for the survey, but those with negative moods were quite uninterested because they were in a different state of mind. The participants had the choice to show up between 5 pm to 7 pm and some of them were tired after the day while the rest had fresh moods. Most of the participants for who the happy music was played were having cheerful moods as compared to those for whom sad music was played and they had gloomy moods.
The results revealed that the participants who were in positive and pleasant mood preferred listening to happy and cheerful songs and they were likely to present themselves in a positive mood. On the other hand, the individuals who were in a negative mood choose gloomy music rather than rock and they experience stress and depression during the process. Positive mood and affect are predictors of effective choices with priority to the music which is congruent with the current mood. There are different researches which provide the evidence of the congruency of current mood and choice of music and even the mood afterward like the study by Lesiuk (2010) in which the results revealed a significant relationship between mood and music preference. The study also proposed that the decision making and cognitive activities are affected by the choice of music and they are related to the genre and type of music which individual tunes in to listen. Similarly, the music plays an important role in the cognitive activities (Hallam, Price, & Katsarou, 2002) as the performance of the subjects increased after the background music because often the psychological aspects of association play role and the individuals link the music with the learning process.
In doing so, they retrieve the information they learned while listening to a particular background music which they also listened while they were processing the cues of information. The number of participants in the study was low and it means that the results cannot be generalized. When the participants in a study are low then it is difficult to justify the results and therefore, the study lacks significance. Therefore, the number of participants should be increased so the results could be generalized in a larger population. Similarly, the survey questionnaires could have targeted a broader spectrum which could reveal details of different other aspects of preferred music and the outcome in the form of cognitive effect and mood and emotions. The questionnaire could have addressed a broader spectrum of concepts which could reveal in-depth details of the causes of the preference of particular music and the leading emotions and feelings which arise due to the choice of genre.
Chen, C. J., Sung, H. C., Lee, M. S., & Chang, C. Y. (2015). The effects of Chinese five‐element
music therapy on nursing students with depressed mood. International journal of nursing practice, 21(2), 192-199.
Hallam, S., Price, J., & Katsarou, G. (2002). The effects of background music on primary school
pupils’ task performance. Educational studies, 28(2), 111-122.
Lesiuk, T. (2010). The effect of preferred music on mood and performance in a high-cognitive
demand occupation. Journal of music therapy, 47(2), 137-154.
Schellenberg, E. G., Nakata, T., Hunter, P. G., & Tamoto, S. (2007). Exposure to music and
cognitive performance: Tests of children and adults. Psychology of Music, 35(1), 5-19.
Zwaag, V., Dijksterhuis, C., de Waard, D., Mulder, B. L., Westerink, J. H., & Brookhuis, K. A.
(2012). The influence of music on mood and performance while driving. Ergonomics, 55(1), 12-22.
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