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11 Scientific Facts That Will Change The Way You Listen To Music

Attention music lovers: The M&M’S spokescandies are starting a band and need you to help them create a bite-size beat. Visit bitesizebeats.com to create a beat that could be featured in an upcoming TV commercial.

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1. Music can affect how we read facial expressions.

Anyone who has listened to music knows that it can have an impact on how you feel. But did you know it can also affect how you perceive the world around you? A 2009 study found that listening to music changed the way participants judged facial expressions — happy music enhanced the perceived happiness of a face and listening to sad music enhanced the perceived sadness of a face.
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Anyone who has listened to music knows that it can have an impact on how you feel. But did you know it can also affect how you perceive the world around you? A 2009 study found that listening to music changed the way participants judged facial expressions — happy music enhanced the perceived happiness of a face and listening to sad music enhanced the perceived sadness of a face.

2. Expectations play a powerful role in how we hear and can lead to mishearing lyrics.

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Making sense of sounds is a combination of hearing and hoping. "There's a piece of what we understand that comes from the sound that comes in our ear," Mark Liberman, a linguist at the University of Pennsylvania, told PRI in 2014, but "there's a piece of what we understand that comes from the expectations in our brain." When you mishear a lyric, that's your expectations exerting themselves.

3. You're more likely to keep mishearing a lyric if you find the incorrect version entertaining.

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A 2014 study found that the wittier you find your misheard lyric, the more likely you are to keep hearing it.

4. Classical music lovers and heavy-metal fans have similar personalities.

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A 2008 study found that classical and heavy-metal listeners often have very similar dispositions. According to researchers, both groups "tend to be creative, gentle people, at ease with themselves." So rethink your stereotypes!

5. Pop music has gotten simpler in recent decades.

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A 2012 study reviewing the evolution of pop music in the past half-century found that it has grown louder, simpler, and more predictable over time.

6. Hit songs tend to have repetitive choruses.

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According to a 2015 study, songs that charted in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 between the years 1958 and 2012 tended to have more word repetition and less complexity than less commercially successful songs.

7. Scientists made an online game to study what makes music memorable, or "catchy."

In 2014, researchers created an online game called Hooked on Music in an effort to study what made music memorable. People who played the game listened to clips, selected from more than 1,000 of the best-selling songs since the '40s, and had to indicate if and when they recognized the song. More than 12,000 people in the UK played the game, allowing researchers to name the catchiest hit single: "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls. While the average song took participants five seconds to recognize, "Wannabe" was identified in an average of just 2.29 seconds.
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In 2014, researchers created an online game called Hooked on Music in an effort to study what made music memorable. People who played the game listened to clips, selected from more than 1,000 of the best-selling songs since the '40s, and had to indicate if and when they recognized the song. More than 12,000 people in the UK played the game, allowing researchers to name the catchiest hit single: "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls. While the average song took participants five seconds to recognize, "Wannabe" was identified in an average of just 2.29 seconds.

8. Listening to sad music provokes more complex feelings than just sadness.

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According to a 2014 study, nostalgia is the most frequent emotion evoked by sad music — not sadness. Participants also cited "complex and partially positive emotions" such as "peacefulness, tenderness, transcendence, and wonder" as responses to sad tunes.

9. Listening to music while exercising can elevate mood and make exercise seem easier.

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To maximize benefits, a 2011 study suggests you should choose music that has an energizing rhythm, uplifting melodies, and inspirational lyrics.

10. Music can affect your sense of taste.

According to a 2016 study, music can affect how people perceive the creaminess, sweetness, and bitterness of chocolate.
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According to a 2016 study, music can affect how people perceive the creaminess, sweetness, and bitterness of chocolate.

11. People might be more generous when they listen to "chill-inducing" music.

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According to a 2014 study, participants were more likely to give money to others after listening to music they described as "chill-inducing." Additionally, they were less likely to give money to others after listening to music they disliked.

The M&M’S spokescandies are starting a band and need you to help them create a bite-size beat! Candy lovers and aspiring DJs are encouraged to visit bitesizebeats.com to create a beat that could be featured in an upcoming TV commercial.