Music's Physiological Effects Transcend Culture
Just the sounds of the 1960 movie thriller Psycho may be enough to get your heart racing. Even when we may not be aware of it, hearing music can affect our bodies as well as our minds.
But are the physiological effects of music unique to one culture or are they more general? To find out, researchers enlisted 40 Canadians from downtown Montreal and 40 Pygmies from the Congo rainforest. All the volunteers listened to musical clips from the movies Psycho, Star Wars and Schindler's List, and to music from Pygmy culture. As the participants listened, the researchers observed their emotional reactions, as well as psychophysiological responses like changes in heart rate, breathing rate and palm-sweat production.