16 Music & Science

Based on Research by Martina T. Mitterschiffthaler, Ph.D..  Psychology Science Minute written by Juanita N. Baker, Ph.D.

SubTitle: Can scientific evidence help us make wiser decisions?

Psychology Science Minute brought to you by the School of Psychology at Florida Institute of Technology, I’m Dr. Sarah Arnett.

You just heard some opening stanzas from Johann Strauss’s Radetzky’s March.  Why did we select that to open?  Whenever you hear that phrase, we want your mind to perk up and listen, thinking, “Ah, Psychology Science Minute!” When we were thinking about choosing a theme song, we discussed wanting to have something catchy and happy to make our listeners feel good.  Ok, we could have chosen something like Disney’s “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah,” Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture, or Lady Gaga’s latest, Born This Way.  But what does psychology science suggest?

Previous research shows that music evokes comparable emotional responses across different musical categories and cultures.   Dr. Mitterschiffthaler and her colleagues verified ratings of 5 happy, 5 sad, and 5 neutral songs by subjects. In their research, only with happy music did the Magnetic Resonance Imaging show increased BOLD signal in the anterior cingulate area of the brain …happy music impacted a different part of the brain than the sad or neutral music.  Therefore, we selected a piece that her study verified as impacting this area of the brain.

So we invite you to sit back and let the music make you happy in your anterior cingulate!

That’s your Florida Tech Psychology Science Minute. I’m Dr. Sarah Arnett.


5Martina T. Mitterschiffthaler, Cynthia H.Y. Fu, Jeffrey A. Dalton, Christopher M. Andrew, and Steven C.R. Williams (2007). A Functional MRI Study of Happy and Sad Affective States Induced by Classical Music. Human Brain Mapping 28:1150–1162.

Peretz, I., Hebert, S. (2000). Toward a biological account of music experience. Brain Cognition, 42:131–134.

Trehub, S.E. (2003): The developmental origins of musicality. Nat Neuroscience, 6:669–673.

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