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Expert says music can shape people and tell much about them

By KSL.com | Posted - Nov. 8, 2010 at 7:00 a.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- How much does music really say about someone's personality? And how much does the music you listen to affect you?

Jessica Turner, a music therapist with the University of Utah's Neuropsychiatric Institute, spoke about that on KSL 5 News. She claims music doesn't just reflect who you are but can actually influence who you are.

She discussed the following:

  • Music changes the physical makeup and wiring of the brain. As you listen to music, new connections and synapses in your brain are formed. Since this is also happening with others who listen to similar music, people who like the same music can often start thinking alike.
  • Soothing music increases serotonin levels of the brain, which helps alleviate depression.
  • Flat musical notes induce sleep, while natural notes alert the mind.
  • Music helps secrete endorphins that help speed the healing process of the body.
  • Music is a powerful distracter from both physical and emotional pain.
  • Music-triggered memories begin in the medial pre-frontal cortex, a part of the brain that sits just behind our foreheads. This is also the last part of the brain to atrophy in Alzheimer's patients. The treatment of music therapy is powerful with these patients, particularly because the music can trigger vivid memories from the past that might not be accessed otherwise.
  • Chord structures, melody, rhythm, and use of certain instruments can create a certain mood within seconds.
  • Music can change metabolic rates, increase or decrease blood pressure, effect energy levels and digestion.
  • Cows produce up to a pint and a half more milk per day when listening to soothing music, such as classical and folk music.
  • Plants exposed to rock music wither and die, while on the other hand, exposed to soft classical music, they grow faster.

Professor Adrian North, PhD in music psychology of Herriot Watt University, found the following correlations between musical tastes and personality types through studying more than 36,000 people from around the world:

Musical Genre Personality Traits
Blues High self-esteem, creative, outgoing, gentle and at ease
Jazz High self-esteem, creative, outgoing, at ease
ClassicalHigh self-esteem, creative, introverted, at ease
Rap High self-esteem, outgoing
Opera High self-esteem, creative, gentle
Country Hard-working, outgoing
Reggae High self-esteem, creative, not hard-working, outgoing, gentle, at ease
Dance Creative, outgoing, not gentle
Indie Low self-esteem, creative, not hard-working, not gentle
Bollywood Creative, outgoing
Rock/Heavy Metal Low self-esteem, creative, not hard-working, introverted, gentle, at ease
Pop High self-esteem, not creative, hard-working, outgoing, gentle, not at ease
Soul High self-esteem, creative, outgoing, gentle, at ease
KSL.com

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