Psychology Research Project

Brain, Emotions, and Music

Why did I choose this topic?

I chose this topic because I like to listen to music and I was interested in learning about what parts of your brain, your emotions, and the things you go through affect your music choices.
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“People’s musical choices seem to be a mirror of who they are.” -David Greenberg ph.D

Genres of Music and personality

There are many different genres of music, each one having its own style and sound. New music is created everyday expanding the music world. Everyone as an individual has their own taste in music, it's a part of your personality. Music can tell you a lot about someone. A lot of the time music is a direct representation of who a person is. The things you go through and your outlook on life can really affect the music you listen to as well. For many people, music is a way to get through different situations or to just help them focus. On the other hand, people just like to listen to music, sometimes they like a song for no in particular reason.
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Songs and the way your brain works

A research was done by U.K. Researchers that included 4,000 participants. The study included filling out a personality questionnaire and listening to and rating 50 different styles of songs from multiple genres.

The results were that empathetic individuals or “empathizers” preferred more emotional music. Whereas, analytic minds or “systemizers” preferred music with greater sonic complexity.

Survey conducted by Adrian North about Personality vs Music

Blues fans have high self-esteem, are creative, outgoing, gentle and at ease

Jazz fans have high self-esteem, are creative, outgoing and at ease

Classical music fans have high self-esteem, are creative, introvert and at ease

Rap fans have high self-esteem and are outgoing

Opera fans have high self-esteem, are creative and gentle

Country and western fans are hardworking and outgoing

Reggae fans have high self-esteem, are creative, not hardworking, outgoing, gentle and at ease

Dance fans are creative and outgoing but not gentle

Indie fans have low self-esteem, are creative, not hardworking, and not gentle

Bollywood fans are creative and outgoing

Rock/heavy metal fans have low self-esteem, are creative, not hard-working, not outgoing, gentle, and at ease

Chart pop fans have high self-esteem, are hardworking, outgoing and gentle, but are not creative and not at ease

Soul fans have high self-esteem, are creative, outgoing, gentle, and at ease

Some things that affect the music you listen to are; Personality, Perception, and Emotions.


Refers to individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving.

The brain’s special roles are memory, attention, decision making, planning and emotion. All these aspects are what make up your own individual personality.


This is the process by which human beings and other organisms sense, know, and understand their environment. The way our bodies are structured to receive and process stimuli from the environment influences our perceptions. Our emotions, needs, expectations, and learning also affect our perceptions. Our brain mixes these sensory impulses together to create our mood about things or experience of something.


Your emotions are relatively any brief conscious experience characterized by intense mental activity, can be both good or bad. Different emotions can mean multiple things and can relate to each other to make up the way you feel about something or a situation. Emotion is a big factor in determining what we perceive. With the way our brain works usually when we hear a sound we match the sound to an image in our brain. Like when you hear a certain animal noise you imagine a picture of that animal in your head. So like when you listen to songs your brain listens to the words and music and matches it with something that has happened in your life or with an image in your brain.

Gray Matter

The gray matter in your brain is involved in your sensory perception such as seeing, hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and self-control. As you get older the amount of gray matter decreases. Gray matter is often correlated with the amount of intelligence someone has. People who are highly skilled, for example a musician, have high levels of gray matter.
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How music affects your emotions

Music taps into multiple parts of the brain. The meter, timbre, rhythm and pitch of music are all managed in the areas of the brain that deal with your mood and emotions. The parts of your brain that deal with music emotions are the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, and the parietal lobe.


Hippocampus: Center of emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system (this control of bodily functions).

Prefrontal Cortex: part of nervous system that plans complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making, and moderating social behavior.

Parietal Lobe: Used to sense sensation and perception. It also Integrates sensory information (Cognition).

Music changes your brain waves

Music doesn’t just change your current mood, it changes your future mood as well. The music you listen to changes your brain waves and even when you aren’t listening to music your brain still remembers what you last listened to so that mood you were in when listening to it could last for hours to days after.

When you listen to music it actually focuses your brain. There are four levels of focus of your brain; Beta, Alpha, Theta, and Delta. Your brain is usually at the least amount of focus, Beta, but when you listen to music it stimulates neurons in your brain so you brain focuses more and could bring it to a That or Delta focus level.

Is every Brain the same?

No one's brains are exactly alike even though they are used for the same thing. Some work differently than others. Some more efficient and some more diverse than others. Your brain changes as you age, making everyone different.

Studies show that more particularly the teen brain is the most diverse than any other age. Teens interpret things differently. There outlook on the world is much more different of an infant's or older adult. Teen’s have the most change going on in their life so it affects the way they think more and this will have a major affect on the type of music they choose to listen to.

My results from a music and personality quiz

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Gregoire, Carolyn. "What Your Favorite Songs Can Tell You About The Way Your Brain Works." N.p., 23 July 2015. Web. 8 Jan. 2016.

Marvelous. "How Music Changes Your Mood." Examined Existence. N.p., 28 Sept. 2013. Web. 08 Jan. 2016.

Greenfield. "How Sound Affects Your Brain." Ben Greenfield Fitness Diet Fat Loss and Performance Advice. N.p., 04 May 2012. Web. 08 Jan. 2016.

"The Teen Brain." Teen Health and Wellness. Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 2016. Web. 8 Jan. 2016.

Collingwood, Jane. "Preferred Music Style Is Tied to Personality." Psych Central. N.p., 24 Sept. 2008. Web. 08 Jan. 2016.

Keenan, Julian Paul. "Perception." World Book Advanced. World Book, 2016. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.