Gregory Devine Humanities and Social Science
Music and Mood: Tuning in to Music's Role in Emotion Regulation
Musics ability to evoke and communicate emotion seems intuitive and universal, but the cognitive and psychological processes that underlie musics emotive inductance still remain largely a mystery. Investigating how people perceive and engage with music ultimately reveals the complexities of emotion regulation. In this study, I compose music that targets various emotions and have participants evaluate changes in their mood state upon listening. By targeting and inducing emotions such as happiness, sadness, or anger in a lab setting, I can assess how effectively music either augments or diminishes the experience of a pre-existing mood, paying particular attention to whether the selected music is congruous (matching) or incongruous (non-matching) to the respective mood state. Music shows therapeutic potential not only in its emotive capabilities, but also as an easily accessible form of self-care and as an exercise of mindfulness via active listening. In this sense, music can be used by anyone anywhere to allay the risk of psychopathology by attenuating risk factors such as emotional trauma and depressive rumination whilst cultivating greater emotional control.