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...

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Photo credit: Shutterstock

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