Music is not only able to affect your mood – listening to particularly happy or sad music can even change the way we perceive the world, according to researchers from the University of Groningen in the academic journal PLoS ONE.
Music and mood are closely interrelated – listening to a sad or happy song on the radio can make you feel more sad or happy. However, such mood changes not only affect how you feel, they also change your perception. For example, people will recognize happy faces if they are feeling happy themselves.
A new study by researcher Jacob Jolij and student Maaike Meurs of the Psychology Department of the University of Groningen 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.
Jolij and Meurs had their test subjects perform a task in which they had to identify happy and sad smileys while listening to happy or sad music. Music turned out to have a great influence on what the subjects saw: smileys that matched the music were identified much more accurately. And even when no smiley at all was shown, the subjects often thought they recognized a happy smiley when listening to happy music and a sad one when listening to sad music.
The latter finding is particularly interesting according to the researchers. Jolij: ‘Seeing things that are not there is the result of top-down processes in the brain. Conscious perception is largely based on these top-down processes: your brain continuously compares the information that comes in through your eyes with what it expects on the basis of what you know about the world. The final result of this comparison process is what we eventually experience as reality. Our research results suggest that the brain builds up expectations not just on the basis of experience but on your mood as well.’
The research was published in the open access journal PLoS ONE on Thursday 21 April.
Note for the press
More information: Dr Jacob Jolij
Reference: Jolij, J. & Meurs, M. (2011). Music alters visual perception. PLoS ONE, http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0018861
|Last modified:||July 04, 2014 21:25|
June 30, 2015Intra-European mobility: a guarantee for more European identity and solidarity?
The European Commission regards intra-European mobility as a way to increase support among citizens for the European integration project. But is this really so? Researchers linked to the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) investigated...
June 30, 2015Dialogue Table: talk and action
The Groningen Dialogue Table has achieved results that would probably not have been possible without it. That is the conclusion of University of Groningen professors Janka Stoker and Heinrich Winter in their evaluation report ‘Dialogue Table: talk...
June 22, 2015Ubbo Emmius Fund new shirt sponsor for premier league team Donitas Ladies 1
The University of Groningen Ubbo Emmius Fund (UEF) is the new shirt sponsor of Groningen student volleyball team G.S.V.V. Donitas Ladies 1. The team returns to the premier division next season after an absence of 12 years, this time under the name...