Music can evoke positive emotions, which in turn can lower the listener's stress levels. Everyday music listening is therefore a simple and effective way to enhance well-being and health, according to a new doctoral thesis in psychology from the University of Gothenburg.
The thesis is based partly on a survey study involving 207 individuals, partly on an intervention study where an experiment group consisting of 21 persons listened to self-chosen music for 30 minutes per day for two weeks while an equally sized control group got to relax without music.
The results of the studies show that positive emotions were experienced both more often and more intensively in connection with music listening. The experiment group did also perceive less stress and had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The more the participants in the survey study liked the music, the less stress they experienced.
'But it should be pointed out that when studying emotional responses to music it is important to remember that all people do not respond in the exact same way to a piece of music and that one individual can respond differently to the same piece of music at different times, depending on both individual and situational factors. To get the positive effects of music, you have to listen to music that you like,' says the author of the thesis Marie Helsing.
The thesis has been successfully defended on Friday 17 February 2012. Faculty examiner: Suzanne Hanser, Berklee College of Music, USA.
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