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We suggest labeling this dimension self-awareness. The second dimension eigenvalue: People can use music to feel close to their friends, to express their identity and values to others, and to gather information about their social environment. We suggest labeling this dimension social relatedness.

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The third dimension eigenvalue: We suggest labeling this dimension arousal and mood regulation. Arousal and mood regulation proved to be the most important dimension of music listening closely followed by self-awareness. These two dimensions appear to represent the two most potent reasons offered by people to explain why they listen to music, whereas social relatedness seems to be a relatively less important reason ranging below the scale mean.

This pattern was consistent across genders, socioeconomic backgrounds, and age groups. The three distinct dimensions emerging from reasons for listening to music. Since the earliest writing on the psychology of music, researchers have been concerned with the many ways in which people use music in their lives. In the first part of this paper, we reviewed literature spanning psychological, musicological, biological, and anthropological perspectives on musical function.

The picture that emerged from our review was somewhat confusing. Surveying the literature from the past 50 years, we identified more than purported functions for music. From this list, we assembled a somewhat catholic list of non-redundant musical functions. We then tested the verisimilitude of these posited functions by collecting survey responses from a comparatively large sample. PCA revealed just three distinct dimensions: People listen to music to achieve self-awareness , social relatedness , and arousal and mood regulation. We propose calling these the Big Three of music listening.

This raises the question of how our three-dimensional result might be reconciled with the earlier work. We propose that there is a rather straightforward interpretation that allows the four-dimensional perspective to be understood within our three-dimensional result. Emotions clearly appear in the first dimension e. However, the regulation of moods clearly appears in the third dimension e. The regulation of emotions, on the other side, could be a much more conscious strategy requiring deliberate attention and devotion to the music.

Music psychology so far has not made a clear distinction between music-related moods and emotions; and the several conceptions of music-related affect remain contentious see Hunter and Schellenberg, Our results appear to call for a clearer distinction between moods and emotions in music psychology research. As noted earlier, a presumed evolutionary origin for music need not be reflected in modern responses to music. Nevertheless, it is plausible that continuities exist between modern responses and possible archaic functions.

Hence, the functions apparent in our study may echo possible evolutionary functions. The three functional dimensions found in our study are compatible with nearly all of the ideas about the potential evolutionary origin of music mentioned in the introduction. The idea that music had evolved as a means for establishing and regulating social cohesion and communication is consistent with the second dimension. The idea of music satisfying the basic human concerns of anxiety avoidance and quest for meaning is consistent with the first dimension.

And the notion that the basic function of music could have been to produce dissociation and pleasure in the listener is consistent with the third dimension. In light of claims that music evolved primarily as a means for promoting social cohesion and communication—a position favored by many scholars—the results appear noteworthy. Seemingly, people today hardly listen to music for social reasons, but instead use it principally to relieve boredom, maintain a pleasant mood, and create a comfortable private space.

Such a private mode of music listening might simply reflect a Western emphasis on individuality: self-acknowledgement and well-being appear to be more highly valued than social relationships and relatedness see also Roberts and Foehr, ; Heye and Lamont, The results of the present study may be of interest to psychologists who make use of music as a tool or stimulus in their research. The way people usually listen to music outside the laboratory will surely influence how they respond to musical stimuli in psychological experiments. For those researchers who make use of music in psychological studies, some attention should be paid to how music is used in everyday life.

The three dimensions uncovered in this study can provide a parsimonious means to identify the value a person sets on each of three different types of music use.

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It is also conceivable that individual patterns of music use are related to personality traits, a conjecture which may warrant future research. With regard to music cognition, the present results are especially relevant to studies about aesthetic preferences, style or genre preferences, and musical choice. Recent research suggests that musical functions play an important role in the formation and development of music preferences e.

It will be one of the future tasks of music cognition research to investigate the dependence of music preference and music choice on the functional use of music in people's lives. By way of summary, in a self-report study, we found that people appear to listen to music for three major reasons, two of which are substantially more important than the third: music offers a valued companion, helps provide a comfortable level of activation and a positive mood, whereas its social importance may have been overvalued.

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. Overview of theoretical contributions that have derived, proposed, or addressed more than one function or functional aspect of music listening.

In some places, we could only provide exemplary functions because either the total number of functions was too large to be displayed here or not all functions were given in the original publications. The statements referring to the functions of music exhaustively derived from past research, together with their means, standard deviations, and factor loadings varimax rotated.

Dimension 1, self-awareness; Dimension 2, social relatedness; Dimension 3, arousal and mood regulation. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Front Psychol v. Front Psychol. Published online Aug Prepublished online May Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. This article was submitted to Frontiers in Cognition, a specialty of Frontiers in Psychology. Received Apr 29; Accepted Jul The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author s or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice.

No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Why do people listen to music? Keywords: music, functions of music, self-awareness, social relatedness, arousal regulation, mood regulation.

Introduction Music listening is one of the most enigmatic of human behaviors. Review of the research on the functions of music Discussions and speculations regarding the functions of music listening can be found in both theoretical literature concerning music as well as in empirical studies of music. Theoretical approaches Many scholars have discussed potential functions of music exclusively from a theoretical point of view.

Functions of music as they derive from specific approaches or theories Evolutionary approaches. Functions of music as they derive from literature research As noted, many publications posit musical functions without providing a clear connection to any theory. Empirical investigations A number of studies have approached the functions of music from an empirical perspective. Surveys about the functions music can have A number of studies have attempted to chronicle the broad range of musical functions.

The structure among the functions of music With each successive study of musical functions, the aggregate list of potential uses has grown longer. Fundamental functions of music—a comprehensive empirical study The large number of functions of music that research has identified during the last decades has raised the question of a potential underlying structure: Are there functions that are more fundamental and are there others that can be subsumed under the fundamental ones? Method Participants were asked to rate how strongly they agreed with each item-statement on a scale from 0 not at all to 6 fully agree.

Open in a separate window. Figure 1. General discussion Since the earliest writing on the psychology of music, researchers have been concerned with the many ways in which people use music in their lives. Conflict of interest statement The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Appendix Table A1 Overview of theoretical contributions that have derived, proposed, or addressed more than one function or functional aspect of music listening. Table A3 The statements referring to the functions of music exhaustively derived from past research, together with their means, standard deviations, and factor loadings varimax rotated. References Arnett J. Adolescents' uses of media for self-socialisation. Youth Adolesc.

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Because it can lead my thoughts to somewhere else. Because it makes me believe I am better able to cope with my worries. Because it helps me better understand my thoughts and emotions. Because it expresses something that cannot be expressed in words. Because it helps me escape from my daily routines. Because it distracts my mind from the outside world. Because it lets me forget the world around me.

Because it puts fantastic images or stories in my head. Because it gives me the energy I need for the day. Because it makes me feel somebody else feels the same as I do. Because it enables me to experiment with different facets of my personality. Because it makes me feel that I want to change the world. Because it is a means of venting my frustration. Because I like the bodily changes it evokes changes of heartbeat, prickling, etc. Because it reminds me of certain periods of my life or past experiences.

Because it gives me something that is mine alone. Because it helps me show that I belong to a given social group. Because it makes me feel connected to all people who like the same kind of music. Because it makes me feel connected to my friends. Because it provides me useful information for my everyday life. Because it helps me form friendships with people who have similar musical taste. Because I can learn something about other people. Because I would like to identify with a particular music scene.

Because it helps me understand the world better. Because it mirrors the history and culture of my country. Because it can be a means to show political engagement. Because it helps me develop my personal values. Because it is a good way to express the uniqueness of our culture. Because it is something my friends like to do, as well. Because it makes me feel connected to the world. Because it is something I can talk about with my friends.

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Because my best friend and I can enthuse about it together. Because it can express my political attitudes. Edward even gives Liza a key to his hotel room, intending to make good on that promise. Charles whisks Liza off to a candlelit bar, where the two have a very professional conversation about her career trajectory at Empirical. Just kidding! On Sex and the City , another show from Younger creator Darren Star, the invitation would be accepted, and a night of passionate lovemaking would ensue.

He looks wistful, as if no one has ever thought to ask him that before. She gets him, you know? But alas, Liza must run off to deal with her usual emergency on Younger , which involves someone finding out her secret. They fight, and then a construction crane falls on Thad, killing him instantly. Rather than thanking her for being a good friend and for trying to stop her from marrying a lying asshole, Kelsey lashes out at Liza for trying to fight her battles for her.

Liza responds more like a year-old than a year-old. She tells her boss Diana Miriam Shor that she received an offer from a rival publishing firm and that she has to leave instantly. Maybe this is why print is dying; because everyone stops work to locate flighty year-olds who quit without giving two weeks notice. They eventually locate her, and Charles volunteers to be the one to journey to the wilds of New Jersey to convince Liza to come back.

Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. I realize that television is about escapist fantasy. A publishing assistant quit her job. It happens. The freaking CEO of the company would never travel across state lines to her new job at the mall to ask her to come back. I know that we, the viewers, are expected to swoon at this. The level-headed Charles is acting completely with his heart, finally demonstrating our dream that Liza and Charles would be such a great couple! But please, let me show my age, cynicism, and practical side for a second.

This kiss is not appropriate. If she does, are they just supposed to sweep this grand romantic gesture under the rug? Every time she sees Charles at the office, are they going to shoot covert glances at one another, yearning to be together? Are they going to to go HR and disclose their relationship?

Does Charles really want it to get out to the public that the head of Empirical publishing is dating an assistant? I know that in the Younger world of blue-sky television, true love is supposed to conquer all.