What Kind of Music Most Inspires Feelings of Power?

The music we listen to strongly informs our emotions and choosing the right tunes can easily alter how we interact with our surroundings: a romantic song for date night versus a get-up-and-go song for the morning commute.

The music we listen to strongly informs our emotions and choosing the right tunes can easily alter how we interact with our surroundings: a romantic song for date night versus a get-up-and-go song for the morning commute. In a study recent published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, researchers began observing that many professional athletes listen to music while preparing for competition. Reasoning that the toughness of professional sports required strong mental resistance, they sought to find music that made people feel more able to meet the challenges before them. Of the 31 songs tested, Queen's "We Will Rock You" made people feel the most powerful while Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out?" ranked lowest.


So what makes a song powerful? Lyrics were ruled out a source of power as people did not report feeling differently after reading powerful lyrics. What ultimate counts, say researchers, is the bass line. 

"Using a new piece of music with digitally enhanced levels of bass, they found that participants reported feeling most powerful after listening to the more bass-heavy music."

So we want to know: what's your go-to power music? For me, it's Moby's "Bodyrock". And by happy coincidence, here's Moby talking to Big Think. In his interview, he discusses how the music that gets made in studios finally reachers your ears...

Read more at PsyBlog

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Related Articles

The neuroscience behind ‘gut feelings’

Fight or flight? We've all been there. Now we have an understanding of how it works.

Surprising Science
  • There is such a thing in neuroscience as a 'gut feeling.'
  • We don't quite know what it's saying yet, but we have an idea.
  • "Gut signals are transmitted at epithelial-neural synapses through the release of … serotonin."
Keep reading Show less

Finally, a world map that's all about oceans

The Spilhaus Projection may be more than 75 years old, but it has never been more relevant than today.

Surprising Science
  • Athelstan Spilhaus designed an oceanic thermometer to fight the Nazis, and the weather balloon that got mistaken for a UFO in Roswell.
  • In 1942, he produced a world map with a unique perspective, presenting the world's oceans as one body of water.
  • The Spilhaus Projection could be just what the oceans need to get the attention their problems deserve.
Keep reading Show less

Major study: Drug overdoses over a 38-year period reveal hidden trends

It's just the current cycle that involves opiates, but methamphetamine, cocaine, and others have caused the trajectory of overdoses to head the same direction

From the study: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/361/6408/eaau1184
Surprising Science
  • It appears that overdoses are increasing exponentially, no matter the drug itself
  • If the study bears out, it means that even reducing opiates will not slow the trajectory.
  • The causes of these trends remain obscure, but near the end of the write-up about the study, a hint might be apparent
Keep reading Show less