Train enhances our skill to get pleasure from music, probably by means of elevated arousal

A study published in the journal Psychology of music examined whether exercise affects the way people experience music. The researchers found that participants rated unfamiliar music as more enjoyable after a 12-minute run on the treadmill, regardless of music style.

Previous research has shown that listening to music while exercising improves performance. But research the author Michael J. Hove and his team wondered if this relationship could go both ways. Does exercise affect listening to music?

“I became interested in how exercise changed the experience of listening to music because of what happens to me after playing hockey – music will blow my mind after a hockey game; After I get home, I usually sit in the car and listen to the end of the song,” said Hove, an associate professor at Fitchburg State University. “I can’t turn it off. As a psychologist who studies music, I am aware of much of the literature on how listening to music can improve exercise performance, but almost no research looking at it the other way around (ep. how exercise affects listening to music)”.

Physical activity has a well-known therapeutic effect. For example, studies have found that exercise can increase mood, excitement, and levels of dopamine — a neurotransmitter that is part of the brain’s reward system. Notably, these three factors are also related to musical pleasure. With this evidence, Hove and his team proposed that exercise could enhance a person’s ability to enjoy music, possibly through mood, arousal or dopamine levels.

A sample of 20 college students between the ages of 19 and 25 participated in a study. The trial involved two hour-long lab sessions held a week apart – an exercise session and a control session. During both sessions, participants listened to 48 clips of unfamiliar songs of various genres (e.g., rock, indie, electronic) and rated how much they liked each clip and how much their preferences (on a scale from “calm” to “excited”).

On exercise day, participants listened to and rated half of the song clips before running on a treadmill for 12 minutes. After the exercise, the students listened and evaluated the remaining song clips. The process was similar on the control day, except that the participants rated the song clips before and after listening to the podcast (control task). Participants also rated their feelings and emotions before and after performing control and exercise tasks and took a test that measured their blink rate as an indicator of dopamine function. . The students listened to each song twice, and the song order was balanced between practice and control days.

The researchers averaged each student’s ratings of music enjoyment for the songs and examined whether these averages changed from before to after the test (before and after the test). exercise or task control) or not. They found that students’ music enjoyment ratings increased significantly after exercising, but not after listening to podcasts. This was true regardless of the energy of the song, suggesting that the exercise enhanced their enjoyment of music whether the song was upbeat or mellow.

Participants showed a stronger increase in positive mood and a stronger increase in arousal after exercise than when listening to a podcast. And although the change in mood was not associated with the change in music enjoyment on exercise day or podcast day, change in interest was significantly associated with changes in reward pattern. music on both days.

In other words, students who rated themselves as “more excited” after an assignment or listening to a podcast tended to find the music more enjoyable. As the study authors noted, these findings are consistent with evidence suggesting that arousal plays a role in how people experience and enjoy music.

Hove told PsyPost: “We measured a number of factors that might be associated with changes in music enjoyment, and the one that showed the most obvious association for increased enjoyment of music was increased musical enjoyment. stimulus increases”.

Interestingly, exercise did not affect the participants’ dopamine function, as measured by their blink rate. Changes in music enjoyment were positively associated with blink rate, but this relationship was not statistically significant. Future studies with larger samples and a more direct measure of dopamine may shed more light on a potential role for dopamine in the relationship between exercise and music enjoyment, the authors say. .

The overall findings suggest that exercise increases the pleasure of listening to music, not by elevating mood, but by increasing arousal. Because listening to music and exercise are two treatments for depression, Hove and his colleagues suggest that combining the two could provide optimal benefits. “While music and exercise will not replace established treatments such as psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy,” the researchers wrote in their study, “they provide an immunity to Cost-effective, accessible, non-invasive for increased pleasure. Side effects can include reduced stress, improved cognition, health, and well-being. “

Research, “Exercise increases enjoyment of music: A regulatory role of arousal, mood, or dopamine?written by Michael J. Hove, Steven A. Martinez and Samantha R. Shorrock.

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