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The Psychology of Music Within Our Everyday Lives

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Hampton U chapter.

Music was first introduced to the world around 40,000 years ago during the Stone Age. Since then music has elevated and has become one of the top essential influences around the world. Now those who are like me music is much more than a basic definition. Music defines our taste, shapes our personalities, and connects us with others who may have similar or even different musical taste. Something I have always wondered is how music has such a strong influence on our mood and even stress levels. I did some research and this is what I discovered.

Music Therapy

What is music therapy? According to the American Music Therapy Association music therapy is, “….the clinical & evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.” Now you may wonder what exactly does music therapy intel so let me tell you. Within music therapy the therapist main goal is to properly asses your overall physical, emotional, mental, and social responses through music. This can be demonstrated by the client on a wide range from listening to music to playing an instrument or even singing. Doing this increases the chances of optimizing your overall health and wellness. This method is used to accomplish a set of goals that were expressed between the client and the therapist. Some benefits of music therapy includes reduced anxiety, decreased depression, pain alleviation, enhancing memory, relaxation, and even improved sleeping habits. 

Emotional Connection

Music has a very powerful hold on our emotions. It’s very easy for someone to get lost in a song due to it connecting so closely to home. Music has the ability to evoke a very wide range of emotions within someone. Think back to the last time you turned on your favorite playlist and you couldn’t help but to get up and start dancing. Or you turned on your playlist of sad songs and couldn’t help but to feel down. Well according to the Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare Center believes that  your current emotion plays a large role in how music pairs with your emotional state. This theory is better know as the Iso-principle. This technique is known to match the mood and emotion of someone to specific music. The powerful grasp that music has on our emotions emphasizes its dynamic connection it has on the impact of the human psyche. 

Neurological Mechanisms

Music has a direct pathway to our brains and how they respond and function within our daily lives According to Neuroscience News, Music engages a multitude of brain areas, showcasing a complex interplay between auditory processing, emotion, and memory centers.“ When we listen to music that we like or enjoy there’s a release of dopamine which is is a chemical messenger within our brain. This release of dopamine gives us the feeling of pleasure or satisfaction. The feeling of happiness and joy from listening to music sends a signal to our brains that causes this chemical release. There’s also a release of  oxytocin which according to the National Institute of Health works to lower your cortisol levels which is also known as your stress level. Music is also connected to our memories. A certain song that is associated with a memory can cause you to remember certain details within that memory. The Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare Center expresses this idea by introducing a device that is connected to music and it’s impact on our memory. According to the TMH a musical nemonic device is, “….a natural way to memorize and recall information.” We have used this device throughout our whole lives and haven’t realized it. As a child in school we used this device when learning our ABCs or the days of the week. 


The psychology behind music and it’s affect on our everyday lives is a very interesting area of study. It explores the connection between musical elements and the influence it has on our emotions and our stress levels. Studying and understanding the connections between music and the human psyche allows you to take advantage of its power that helps promotes better mental health and emotional resilience.

Dania Flint

Hampton U '24

Dania Flint is a graduating senior, Political Science major on the PreLaw track from Athens, Georgia who attends Hampton University. Some of her passions include dancing, reading, journaling, and spending time with family and friends.