Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Front Psychol. 2013 Aug 13;4:511. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00511. eCollection 2013.

The psychological functions of music listening.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Chemnitz University of Technology Chemnitz, Germany.

Abstract

Why do people listen to music? Over the past several decades, scholars have proposed numerous functions that listening to music might fulfill. However, different theoretical approaches, different methods, and different samples have left a heterogeneous picture regarding the number and nature of musical functions. Moreover, there remains no agreement about the underlying dimensions of these functions. Part one of the paper reviews the research contributions that have explicitly referred to musical functions. It is concluded that a comprehensive investigation addressing the basic dimensions underlying the plethora of functions of music listening is warranted. Part two of the paper presents an empirical investigation of hundreds of functions that could be extracted from the reviewed contributions. These functions were distilled to 129 non-redundant functions that were then rated by 834 respondents. Principal component analysis suggested three distinct underlying dimensions: People listen to music to regulate arousal and mood, to achieve self-awareness, and as an expression of social relatedness. The first and second dimensions were judged to be much more important than the third-a result that contrasts with the idea that music has evolved primarily as a means for social cohesion and communication. The implications of these results are discussed in light of theories on the origin and the functionality of music listening and also for the application of musical stimuli in all areas of psychology and for research in music cognition.

KEYWORDS:

arousal regulation; functions of music; mood regulation; music; self-awareness; social relatedness

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Frontiers Media SA Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center