Sometimes we need the right music to get ouf of bed in the morning, to get on with cleaning the house, to hype ourselves up. Soundtracks make movies more dramatic, funny, or scary. And some bittersweet songs about lost love even manage to make us cry.
Does music really influence our emotions? The answer lies in the brain:
- Happy music makes you happy because it activates the same cerebral areals as other stimuli that elicit positive feelings.
We knew that pleasant and unpleasant pictures cause different activity patterns in the brain (Davidson et al., 2000). An experiment used EEG data of students (Schmidt & Trainor, 2001) to reveal that “positive” and “negative” music induces the same asymmetrical brain activity.
- Ten students were asked to bring music to the laboratory that gave them goosebumps, which the subject group listened to in turns with neutral compositions (Blood & Zatorre, 2001). When listening to the goosebumps-inducing music, both heart rate and respiratory frequency quickened.
Moreover, their brain activity signaled pleasant emotional arousal. The more intense the goosebumps, the more active the brain areals in question.
What makes music happy or sad?
- One factor seems to be pace. In another experiment students listened to relatively quick and relatively slow pieces. Again, the brain activity was asymmetrical. Quicker music is generally happier than slow music. (Tsang et al., 2001)
It’s still a small mystery why music makes us feel things. Music uses neuronal emotion and reward mechanisms similar to those of food, sex, and drugs. This is remarkable, given that it is neither essential to biological survival or procreation, nor a pharmacological substance.
Researchers at Harvard University asked 14 college-age men to rate the attractiveness of 180 female faces on a scale of 1 to 10. Thirty minutes later the psychologists asked the men to rate the faces again, but this time the faces were paired with a random rating that the scientists told the men were averages of their peers’ scores. The men were strongly influenced by their peers’ supposed judgments—they rated the women with higher scores as more attractive than they did the first time. Functional MRI scans showed that the men were not simply lying to fit in. Activity in their brain’s pleasure centers indicated that their opinions of the women’s beauty really did change.
- You understand their feelings, but they never attempt to understand yours;
- They dismiss your difficulties or issues as unimportant or an overreaction;
- They do not listen to you;
- They always put their needs before yours;
- They expect you to perform tasks that you find unpleasant or humiliating
- You “walk on eggshells” in an effort not to upset them;
- They ignore logic and prefer amateur theatrics in order to remain the centre of attention;
- Instead manipulate you into feeling guilty for things that have nothing to do with you; (This was the worst.)
- They attempt to destroy any outside support you receive by belittling the people/service/practice in an attempt to retain exclusive control over your emotions;
- They never take responsibility for hurting others;
- They blame everyone and everything else for any unfortunate events in their lives;
- They perceive themselves as martyrs or victims and constantly expect preferential treatment.
1. Filtering: You take the negative details and magnify them, while filtering out all positive aspects of a situation. A single detail may be picked out, and the whole event becomes colored by this detail. When you pull negative things out of context, isolated from all the good experiences around you, you make them larger and more awful than they really are.
2. Polarized Thinking: The hallmark of this distortion is an insistence on dichotomous choices. Things are black or white, good or bad. You tend to perceive everything at the extremes, with very little room for a middle ground. The greatest danger in polarized thinking is its impact on how you judge yourself. For example-You have to be perfect or you’re a failure.
3. Overgeneralization: You come to a general conclusion based on a single incident or piece of evidence. If something bad happens once, you expect it to happen over and over again. ‘Always’ and ‘never’ are cues that this style of thinking is being utilized. This distortion can lead to a restricted life, as you avoid future failures based on the single incident or event.
4. Mind Reading: Without their saying so, you know what people are feeling and why they act the way they do. In particular, you are able to divine how people are feeling toward you. Mind reading depends on a process called projection. You imagine that people feel the same way you do and react to things the same way you do. Therefore, you don’t watch or listen carefully enough to notice that they are actually different. Mind readers jump to conclusions that are true for them, without checking whether they are true for the other person.
5. Catastrophizing: You expect disaster. You notice or hear about a problem and start “what if’s.” What if that happens to me? What if tragedy strikes? There are no limits to a really fertile catastrophic imagination. An underlying catalyst for this style of thinking is that you do not trust in yourself and your capacity to adapt to change.