Recently, researchers for The Society For Personality And Social Psychology launched a study examining music’s true psychological impact on a person’s sense of self-empowerment. Their results found that the right “jams” can, in fact, pump you up for a competitive event, which may not be that surprising to learn. What is, however: music can also enhance your mental state for more intellectual activities such as scholastic debates and job interviews.
To begin, the researchers, many of whom are associated with the Kellogg School of Management, determined two sample groups of songs: “high-power music”, which includes 50 Cent’s “In Da Club”, Queen’s “We Will Rock You”, and -2 Unlimited’s “Get Ready For This”); and “low-power music”, which includes Notorious BIG’s “Big Poppa”, Fatboy Slim’s “Because We Can”, and Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out?”. For their experiment, the researches had two test groups listen to one power level of music and then tested respondents in various situations.
In one test, participants had to complete fill-in-the-blanks; those who’d heard “We Will Rock You” were more likely to complete P _ _ E R as POWER than those who’d listened to “Who Let the Dogs Out”, who were more likely spell something like PAPER. Similarly, the high-power group was 14% more likely than the low-power group to opt to go first in a debate (34% versus 20%).
The idea is that listening to the high-power songs put listeners in a more “powerful” state of mind, allowing them to more often feel in control of any given situation. Researchers postulate that this concept could help businesses better motivate their employees, or to be used as a preparatory aid for those folks interviewing at new jobs. Still, the question begs: what about the music actually causes the psychological boost?
In one word, bass. Another experiment saw the researchers produce two different versions of the same songs, one where the bass was heavier and the other where it was significantly lighter. In the resulting experiments, the heavier bass created a higher sense of empowerment in subjects. Even still, researchers say the low-end is just one of many aspects of a song that can impact a person’s feelings of control, with others being the volume, tempo, lyrics, and even musical genre.
So, if you’ve still got your copy of Jock Jams, you might want to dig it out before your next big meeting.