Music can change the way we perceive our world.
Music. Each one of us has particular memories associated with that word. Some of us remember our favorite melody while others start playing their favorite song on repeat in their head. We all have certain moods and when we are sad, we play sad music and when we are happy, our music also tends to be happier. Does that make any difference in our perception of the world? Can sad music actually make the world seem tinted in a dim light and happy music make us just see smiley faces everywhere? Can music really have such a major impact, not just a pastime but a psychological effect that may be permanent? I mean, we all know that if we associate a particular song to an incident, that association remains intact forever. For example, if you were listening to a particular song when you heard about an accident, the accident will forever be linked with the song and whenever the song is played, you will remember that accident and its details. Sometimes these associations can potentially be really bad for our mental health because we can start to remember stuff we wanted to forget just because a particular song is being played in the mall and that may cause depression and other mental conditions. But the case in point right now is not about what ifs. It is a proven fact that music can change how we see the world and can paint the world in different colors. A research study in the Netherlands asked forty three young adults to come prepared with fifteen minutes of sad music and fifteen minutes of happy music. Then there was a visual perceptions test during which “Multiple faint, visual stimuli of either happy or sad faces were presented one at a time in a visually noisy, gray background.” The subjects were to report if they saw sad or happy faces or to not respond at all if they could not see a face. During the study, music was being played in the background. The study showed that the subjects were more likely to see happy faces if the music being played was happy and sad faces if the music was sad, even if there was no face being shown (only gray noise). So in fact, it is true that music can sort of act as a curtain or filter in front of our eyes, showing us only what it wants us to see. When you click play on a song today, think about what impact that music might have before you make your choice.
Mariam Junaid is a freshman from Baker College at Rice University.