Seasons Change Musical Preference

As I was doing my daily scroll through Twitter, retweeting some cool pictures of artwork, liking a couple statuses, I came across this article by Psychology Today. The article is about how the changing of the different seasons can lead to changes in our musical preferences. Immediately, I was gravitated toward the article because along with art, I am interested in music as well. I feel like

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one of my best purchases was definitely my subscription to Spotify and Soundcloud. It’s so funny to think that nine years ago Spotify made its grand debut and finally we were able to listen to an unlimited amount of music. Through Spotify and Soundcloud I have explored endlessly, discovering different music genres, artists and sounds. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am open to listen to just about anything when it comes to music.

Anyways so I’m reading through the article and I find many things interesting. I agree that music is basically the soundtrack of our lives. We hear music everywhere, in our homes, work, parties, stores, the car. Now it might not be music that we prefer but regardless, it’s always playing in the background. On a study led by psychologist Terry Pettijohn, his team looked into the hypothesis that our changes in our playlists result from the changing of seasons, including the impact of daylight savings time. His team based their research on a previous study in which their theory was that individuals prefer content that is more mature and meaningful when facing threats in the environment. The idea was that soothing, slower, comforting songs were preferred during difficult times because they “resonate with the listener’s inner experience and help them cope better with their challenges.” I agree that emotion definitely has an impact on what kind of music we listen to. If I’m in a sad mood, I’m not going to be listening to some happy, upbeat pop song.

From these findings, Pettijohn and his team can say that seasonal changes can lead to emotional changes. One of the biggest emotional changes occur

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when the weather goes from warm to cold and having more light to less, this is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (Winter Depression). Also the cold and harshness of the winter can lead individuals to isolate themselves, I know I stay inside and don’t go out when it’s freezing outside! Spring signals a “fresh start,” everything is melting/growing and we gain an extra hour of daylight. This is also a happy time for students too because the weather is nice and in result of that there are more social gatherings. Anyways, in the studies, participants were asked to choose one of the four musical preferences in relation to a real life scenario. Pettijohn and his team found that the participants favored blues, jazz, classical and folk music during the fall and winter months and rap/hip-hop, soul/funk and electronica/dance music during the summer months. His hypothesis that our changes in our playlists result from the changing of seasons, including the impact of daylight savings time remains true to his study.

I found this study to be interesting and I feel like if the sample size and age range was greater than they could get more accurate results. The participants in this study were all college students. Lastly, I found that the second to last paragraph of the article was interesting. I am writing my senior research paper on art therapy and other therapies effect on eating disorder patients, on a slightly related note I have read a lot about cognitive behavioral therapy. I believe that cognitive behavioral therapy mixed with music therapy could benefit individuals with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Listening to upbeat, happy musics may help reduce negative effects and improve mood.

One thought on “Seasons Change Musical Preference

  1. That is so wild! It’s funny because of course we think of the music we decide to play as an example of exercising our total free will and taste, but of course it makes sense that these things are totally influenced by both our psychological state and external factors in the environment. Really interesting little post!

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