Musings on Music

Written at McFarland High School

By Calvin Moen


There has been a significant quantity of research conducted on the subject of musical preferences and their correlations with personality traits and cognitive styles. This paper aims to summarize the results of a multitude of studies and explain the significance of these findings in the real world, both in and outside of psychology. This paper will also explore the shortcomings of this field of research, including the insufficient knowledge on the physiological components of music-derived pleasure and the lack of understanding of how evolution facilitates the pleasurable sensations derived from music. Music is a tool that can be used for things other than enjoyment: emotional regulation, physiological arousal (which may improve performance at physically demanding tasks), a way to relate to others, and organizing cognition all are possible functions of music (Blood and Zatorre, 2001). Understanding what makes music enjoyable can help music educators teach students and help psychologists treat their patients.

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