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5 news posts in Music

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25 Oct 2023

Our favorite bittersweet symphonies may help us deal better with physical pain

by Deborah Pirchner, Frontiers science writer Image: Even before it was found to reduce pain and anxiety in modern times, music has been used for centuries to relieve pain. Now, researchers in Canada have investigated which aspects of listening to music can lead to a decreased pain perception. They found that participants’ perception of pain intensity and unpleasantness was reduced when they listened to their favorite music compared to pre-selected relaxing music, which is commonly used in clinical settings. In addition, bittersweet music – unlike other emotionally loaded music – was found to additionally reduce pain unpleasantness. Research has shown that music might be a drug-free way to lower humans’ pain perception. This decreased sensitivity to pain – also known as hypoalgesia – can occur when pain stimuli are disrupted between their point of input and where they are recognized as pain by the conscious mind. In a new study, researchers in Canada have examined what type of music helps to dampen pain perception. “In our study, we show that favorite music chosen by study participants has a much larger effect on acute thermal pain reduction than unfamiliar relaxing music” said Darius Valevicius, a doctoral student at the Université […]


05 Jan 2017

Measuring the emotional power of music

In exploring the psychological bases of human musicality, research expands simplistic categories of emotions, producing advanced tools which can sort feelings evoked by music and assess the emotional benefits of musical abilities. Here we interview Professor Marcel Zentner, Professor of Psychology at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, and Co-Chief specialty editor of section Personality and Social Psychology, in Frontiers in Psychology. His main research interests are in personality development, psychological assessment, emotion and music. By Eva Brown, Frontiers Science Writer We can all relate to music, which individually sparks some form of emotion within us, but what kind of emotion is it? Research shows that music induces numerous types of emotion, more in fact, than the bland categories usually referred to, such as happiness or sadness. “It is obvious that these categories do not capture the richness of feeling in response to music”, says Zentner. “It is no secret that music elicits ‘happiness’ or ‘positive affect’, so the merit lies not in stating the obvious, but in specifying musical happiness in all of its multiple forms.” The psychology of emotion focuses on broad categories, sadness, happiness, anger, fear, surprise, but are these categories too simplistic in analyzing our emotions? “They are useful for […]


28 Jul 2016

Music makes beer taste better

The music played in a bar can impact how much you enjoy your drink. by Samantha Bradey, Music can influence how much you like the taste of beer, according to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology. Their findings suggest that a range of multisensory information, such as sound, sensation, shape and color, can influence the way we perceive taste.   The Brussels Beer Project collaborated with UK band The Editors to produce a porter-style beer that took inspiration from the musical and visual identity of the band. The ale had a medium body and used an Earl Grey infusion that produced citrus notes, contrasting with the malty, chocolate flavors from the mix of grains used in production. This taste profile was designed to broadly correspond to The Editors latest album, ‘In Dreams’. Then, a team of researchers led by Dr. Felipe Reinoso Cavalho, from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and KU Leuven, designed an experiment to see if the influence of music and packaging design would result in a more positive tasting experience. They invited 231 drinkers to experience the beer in three different conditions. The first served as a control group and drank the beer along with a bottle […]