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Up for a big task? Listen to your favourite tune first

Posted on Aug 06 2014 | IANS

New York, Aug 6 : Be it your first date, a job interview or a big game at college, listen to your favourite tune before plunging into action as music truly makes you feel powerful.

But not all songs have the same effect, researchers found, and the levels of bass are a key factor in their effectiveness.

"I believe our findings provide initial evidence for the potential strategic use of music, especially in situations where people need to feel empowered," said Dennis Hsu of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in the US.

The researchers first pre-tested 31 pieces of music from several genres, such as sports music, hip-hop, and reggae, to see how powerful participants felt listening to 30-second clips. From this pre-test, they identified the highest power and lowest power songs.

They looked at how the highest and lowest rated power songs affected both people's sense of power and three previously identified psychological and behavioural consequences of power.

These are the tendency to see the forest instead of the trees (thought abstraction), perceived control over social events (illusion of control), and the desire to move first in competitive interactions.

The researchers found that the high-power music not only evoked a sense of power unconsciously, but also systematically generated the three downstream consequences of power.

Importantly, the researchers also ruled out lyrics as the cause of the effects, separately asking people to rate how powerful the lyrics made them feel.

"Because participants did not report increased powerful feelings after reading the lyrics, we can rule out the semantic priming effect of lyrics in the selected songs," Hsu explained.

The study appeared in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

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