Multitasking and Listening to Mood Music

When you’re feeling blue, put on a sad song. Getting in the party spirit? Turn up the dance music. We are all well aware that music can fit our mood and even reinforce certain emotions. Now, researchers at Philips Research in The Netherlands have demonstrated that background music can affect our mood even while we are directly focused on another task. Their work, described in the International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics might have implications for those investigating the benefits of music therapy, music in the workplace, commercial environments or even in healthcare.

Music is almost ubiquitous for many people, they listen wherever and whenever and with modern portable electronic gadgets it is almost impossible to be without one’s music collection even when on the move; at least until the batteries are expended. Music is often the primary activity at any given time, listening for pleasure and relaxation. It is well known that music can strongly influence a person’s mood under such circumstances. However, what was not entirely clear from previous scientific research was whether music can influence mood so significantly if it is being played in the background, secondary to a person involved in another activity.

Marjolein van der Zwaag and Joyce Westerink specialists in human perception and interaction….

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This article has been reproduced from Sciencebase Science News. Copyright David Bradley.

Zwaag, M.D.V.D. & Westerink, J.H.D.M. (2012). Inducing moods with background music, International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics, 1 (2) DOI: 10.1504/IJHFE.2012.048035

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About David Bradley Science Writer

David Bradley has worked in science communication for more than twenty years. After reading chemistry at university, he worked and travelled in the USA, did a stint in a QA/QC lab and then took on a role as a technical editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry. Then, following an extended trip to Australia, he returned and began contributing as a freelance to the likes of New Scientist and various trade magazines. He has been growing his portfolio and and has constructed the Sciencebase Science News and the Sciencetext technology website. He also runs the SciScoop Science Forum which is open to guest contributors on scientific topics.
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