Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Music Can Make You Feel Invincible

Lets admit it,you can’t separate Rocky from its music. It’s easy to believe the lovable underdog boxer could be a champion, so long as that rousing, brass-heavy score is roaring as insistently in his head as it is in ours.

But stirring sounds aren’t simply a way of generating excitement or enthusiasm. A new study finds certain types of music -- especially tunes with a heavy bass beat -- can make one feel more powerful. This sense of confidence and ability, the researchers add, can subsequently shape the way we think and behave.

In one experiment,78 undergraduates were made to listne to an original, two-minute-long piece of instrumental music in one of two conditions: With the bass line prominent or subdued. Afterwards, they “rated how powerful, dominant,
 and determined they felt,” as well as how strongly they were feeling three positive emotions (happiness, excitement and enthusiasm).

“Participants who listened to the heavy-bass music reported greater feelings of power than those who listened to the light-bass music,” the researchers report. “Importantly, the amount of bass did not produce any effect on positive emotions,” meaning the sense of power was not the result of their feeling happier or more excited.

How does this work? “Powerful people are more likely to speak with a deep, bass voice, and a bass voice is often associated with higher perceived power,” the researchers write, noting James Earl Jones' foreboding tones as Darth Vader in Star Wars.

 In additional studies, participants who had listened to “high-power music” such as Queen’s “We Will Rock You” were more likely to step forward and go first in a debate competition.Compared who listened to “low-power music” such as
“Who Let the Dogs Out,” they also scored higher on a test measuring abstract thinking, an ability that has previously been linked with power.

This suggests music can, at least temporarily, help us to think in ways that are more typical of powerful people.