Does Music Have an Influence on the Moods of College Students?
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MCQUINN, N.M. & NESSLAGE, J.L (2003). Does Music Have an Influence on the Moods of College Students?. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 6. Available online at http://www.webclearinghouse.net/volume/. Retrieved February 20, 2019
NATALIE M MCQUINN AND JILL L NESSLAGE
Missouri Western State University DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY
Sponsored by: Brian Cronk (firstname.lastname@example.org)
|In this study, we were looking for a difference in mood between the pre-test and post-test based on the type of music played. In previous studies, music has been found to affect the heart rate and blood pressure, as well as, skin conductance. Music has also been found to decrease both distress and depression, while increasing self-esteem. Three groups were randomly assigned to either the control group with no music, the relaxed group with calm music, or the angry group with aggressive music. A pre-test and a post-test were given to each group. There was a significant difference in the happiness level, with calm music increasing happiness and no music decreasing happiness. There was also a significant different in the level of calmness. Playing calm music tended to increase calmness in people, while no music or aggressive music lowered the calmness level. Overall, there were some mood changes with music. The calm music tended to show more influence than the aggressive or the control of no music.|
INTRODUCTION In the words of Janet Towell (2000), “…music can soothe the soul, excite the emotions, and provide a sense of cultural identity.” She also says that music helps encourage kids to read. One way of doing this is called engagement. Engagement happens when music causes an emotional response while reading. This makes the reader more interested in what they are reading. In an unofficial study, a teacher in California played a Vivaldi piece while the students read. The teacher thought reading attitudes greatly improved. Finding an alternative to drug treatment is beneficial in many ways. The most obvious would be economic. If playing stress-reducing music for x amount of hours a day did the same thing as an expensive pill, insurance companies would choose music. It also controls the dangerous side effects of the medication. Music can decrease distress and depression while increasing mood and self-esteem (Smith & Noon, 1999). The tempo and mode of music also plays a part in mood (Smith & Noon, 1999). Listening to exciting music can produce more anxiety and aggression than calm music. A study showed that tempo affected arousal. and mode affected mood (Husain, Thompson, & Schellenberg, 2002). If music was played in a major key, the result was a happy mood. If music was played in a minor key, the result was a sad mood. There are measurable physical responses to music as well. Husain et al. (2002) discovered that playing sad music decreased skin conductance and heart rate while increasing blood pressure. Playing scary music produced a higher pulse transmission, but lowered pulse amplitude. Happy music produced shallower respiration. Electroencephalograph (EEG) is also being used to measure music and mood. While listening to pleasant music, the left frontal part of the brain showed activation. Listening to unpleasant music produced activity in the right frontal area. Depressed patients tend to have constant right frontal activity (Field, et al. 1998). It was also shown that playing rock music lowered right frontal activation and cortisol levels in teenaged girls, even though no mood change was reported. This response is similar to massage therapy. Music has also been used to treat autistic children (Panksepp & Bekkedal, 1997). It is easy to see the therapeutic role of music in treatment (Smith & Noon, 1999). Cognitive differences are present with music, specifically visual scanning patterns (Abed, 1990). It was shown that while playing exciting music, a large visual area was covered. While playing sad music, the visual area decreased and became more localized. Music also changed the rate of reactions. The Mozart effect is a hot topic in both the Psychology and Music fields. Fran Rauscher and Gordon Shaw (1998) did a study using college students testing spatial ability and music. They played a Mozart sonata, and then asked the students to perform a spatial task. They found a temporary increase in spatial ability. The study has been replicated many times (Costa-Giomi, et al. 1999); mostly the results do not match (Steel, Bass, & Crook, 1999). If there is a difference, it is too minimal to recommend parents play Mozart all the time. The good thing about this research is that it shows that there is a difference because of music. That can lead to more funding for research, and for music education in public schools. It was also suggested that the Mozart effect is a result of priming (Husain et al., 2002). This is because music and spatial ability have similar neural activation sites. This is unlikely though, because it would be a cross model priming effect, which is very rare.It is true to say that music has an impact on almost everyone. Music can teach discipline, patience, and tolerance. Music can make your job more pleasant. Such is the case with archaeologists. An archaeologist named David Soren (1999) did an informal study to see what music his colleagues listened to. One liked the Beach Boys, another liked Waylon Jennings, and his personal preference was Loreena McKennitt. He listens to her music when his dig is not going well. Like so many others, he uses music to manipulate his feelings.In this study, we hope to find a difference in mood between the pre-test and post-test based on the type of music played.
For this study, we used college students from three different classes. We had two Psychology 101 classes, and one Psychology 200 class from Missouri Western State College.
We used two CD’s, one with exciting/aggressive music, and one with calm music. The calm music was “Ocean of the Heart” from Adagio: Music for Healing by Peter Davison. Our exciting/aggressive music was “Drown” from the motion picture soundtrack Singles by the Smashing Pumpkins. We used a paper and pencil survey, which we created, to measure the moods. See Appendix A.
After giving instructions and getting consent, we administered page one of the survey. We then played three minutes of calm, aggressive, or no music. The participants were then asked to complete page two of the survey.
RESULTS We computed a One-Way ANOVA comparing types of music with happiness. A significant difference was found for happiness and music (F(2,89)=3.467, p< .05). A Tukey’s HSD test was used to determine the nature of the differences. The analysis revealed that the calm music increased happiness (m= .0571, sd= .76477) and happiness was lowered with aggressive music (m= -.3182, sd= .64633). See Figure 1. We computed a One-Way ANOVA comparing the types of music with anger. There was no significant difference found (F(2,89)= 2.718, p> .05). There was no significant difference found between the type of music played and anger. We computed a One-Way ANOVA comparing the types of music with sadness. There was no significant difference found (F(2,89)= 1.591, p> .05). There was no significant difference found between the type of music played and sadness. We computed a One-Way ANOVA comparing the types of music with calmness. There was as significant difference found (F(2,89)= 6.656, p< .05). Calmness was decreased with no music (m= -.2000, sd= 1.49115), with calm music the calmness increased (m= .5714, sd= 1.14496), and with aggressive music calmness decreased (m=-.6364, sd= 1.09307). See Figure 2. We computed a One-Way ANOVA comparing the types of music with excitement. There was no significant difference (F(2,89)= .817, p< .05). There was no significant difference found between the type of music played and excitement.
DISCUSSION We were looking for a difference in mood based on the type of music played. Calm music had the biggest effect on mood. Happiness and calmness increased while playing calm music. Aggressive music decreased calmness, but had no other significance. Some of the things we would do differently are test a wider variety of people. For example, since this is a music and mood survey, music students would be an interesting source to use. We would also choose general studies courses that everyone has to take. We would change the mood survey as well. We created this survey. We are not confident that it is a reliable test. We would research mood surveys, and get a test that has higher reliability and validity. We would also change the choice of aggressive music. One of the instructors noted that the aggressive music had a regular bass beat. If one were to concentrate on the bass, and not the rest of the music, it would not be as aggressive. Finally, the instructions to the participants were not exactly the same between the classes. Next time we would type instructions, and read them word for word. As previously noted, David Soren (1999) uses music to relax when his dig is going bad. This directly ties into our finding that calm music increases calmness and happiness. Smith & Noon (1999) said that music decreases distress and depression. This also relates to our calmness factor, as well as our happiness factor. Patients can presumably benefit from certain types of music by reducing anxiety and depression.
REFERENCES Abed, F. (1990). Effects of mood music on visual scanning patterns. International Journal of Instructional Media, 17, 29-41.Costa-Giomi, E., Price, H.E., Rauscher, F.H., Schmidt, J., Shackford, M., Sims, W.L., et al. (1999). Straight talk about music and research. Teaching Music, 7, 29-35.Field, T., Martinez, A., Nawrocki, T., Pickens, J., Fox, N.A., & Schanberg, S. (1998). Music shifts frontal EEG in depressed adolescents. Adolescence, 33, 109-117.Husain, G., Thompson, W.F., & Schellenberg, E.G. (2002). Effects of musical tempo and mode on arousal, mood, and spatial abilities. Music Perception, 20, 151-172.Panksepp, J. & Bekkedal, M.Y.V. (1997). The affective cerebral consequence of music: Happy vs. sad effects on the EEG and clinical implications. International Journal of Arts Medicine, 5, 18-27.Rauscher, F.H., & Shaw, G.L. (1998). Key components of the Mozart effect. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 86, 835-842.Smith, J.L. & Noon, J. (1999). Objective measurement of mood change induced by contemporary music. Journal of Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing, 5, 403-409.Soren, D. (1999). Mood music. Archaeology, 52, 88.Steele, K.M., Bass, K.E., & Crook, M.D. (1999). The mystery of the Mozart effect: failure to replicate. Psychological Science, 10, 366-369.Towell, J.H. (2000). Motivating students through music and literature. Reading Teacher, 53, 284-288.
APPENDIX A1. Age: _______2. Your level of happiness right now is: 0 1 2 3 4 5 None Very3. Gender (circle one): Female Male4. Your level of anger right now is: 0 1 2 3 4 5 None Very5. Year in school (circle one): Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior6. Your level of sadness right now is: 0 1 2 3 4 5 None Very7. What type of music do you listen to most frequently (circle one)?Rock Rap Country Classical ReligiousOldies Pop Hip-Hop/R&B Electronic/Dance8. Your level of calmness right now is: 0 1 2 3 4 5 None Very9. How many hours of music do you listen to per day? 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10+10. Your level of excitement right now is: 0 1 2 3 4 5 None Very
..1. What is your major? __________________2. Your level of happiness right now is: 0 1 2 3 4 5 None Very3. Are you familiar with the music that was played? Yes No4. Your level of anger right now is: 0 1 2 3 4 5 None Very5. Do you think the music played changed your mood? Yes No6. Your level of sadness right now is: 0 1 2 3 4 5 None Very7. Do you use music to regulate your mood? Yes No8. Your level of calmness right now is: 0 1 2 3 4 5 None Very9. Did you enjoy the music that was played? Yes No10. Your level of excitement right now is: 0 1 2 3 4 5 None Very
FIGURE CAPTIONSFigure 1. Change in happiness with calm music.Figure 2. Change in calmness with calm music.
Submitted 11/30/2003 8:01:30 PM
Last Edited 12/4/2003 5:30:24 PM
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