Excursus Music & Babies

Nature or nurture? Does a persons sound biography determine what music they find to be happy or sad? Is it just our experience that makes matches and associations or are we programmed to react to music as an emotional trigger? Here is indication that even babies – with no associations saved in their memory will perceive the difference between happy and sad music.

As recent studies indicate babies at the age of nine months can distinguish between a happy and a sad song. This tells us that music in itself is emotionally communicative as the babies are not old enough to have learned cultural or idiosyncratic differences in interpreting music. Music is the universal language when it comes to mood. The main power of music isn’t really in its lyrics, music is an emotional medium.

Read the following two articles here:

2 thoughts on “Excursus Music & Babies”

  1. So what does this mean to branding? That we are biologically programmed to pay more attention when we hear a happy song? Will it affect our actions?

    /Carolin Dahlman, Love branding

  2. Hi Carolin, well, basically this indicates that music is perhaps not as subjective is it has been assumed. If a baby can differentiate between happy & sad music then in our subconscious, we will also be able to hear happy and sad brands. This could lead to what is termed as a “cognitive dissonance” – when that what we hear doesn’t match our perception. There are studies that indicate this (see below). This is very relevant in music style development for brands regarding brand fit. And obviously it supports the need for attention to detail when selecting repertoire for point-of-sale > see e.g. https://www.werbepsychologie-online.de/html/musik.html#Musik%20am%20Point%20of%20Sale

    Music „fit“ – The wrong music can be damaging

    Law/North – study:
    Claim recall, brand recognition and advertisement recall can be increased
    significantly through a brand-conform acoustic performance. BUT: when
    from the customers point of view there is no brand-fit it can – worst case –
    have a reverse effect and harm the perception of the brand.

    Helms/Siegmund – study:
    3 of 4 subjects identify essential picture elements or actions only in
    connection to hearing a soundtrack.

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