Listening to music with specific emotional qualities has been associated with productivity, performance, creative problem solving, endurance, decreased pain sensitivity, and decision biases, outlined in previous blog posts.
Subjective power feelings are an additional outcome of listening to music with substantial bass beat, reported Northwestern University’s Dennis Y. Hsu, Loran F. Nordgren, Derek D. Rucker, Li Huang, and Columbia’s Adam D. Galinsky.
Hsu’s team found that power-inducing music produced enhanced:
- Abstract thinking
- Illusions of control
- Willingness to volunteer first for a potentially stressful task.
Subjective feelings of power are important contributors to workplace performance because they associated with confidence and self-efficacy, which influence willingness to persist in accomplishing challenging tasks.
More than 75 volunteers listened to an original, two-minute instrumental composition with either a prominent bass line or a subdued bass element in Team Hsu’s investigation.
Participants rated their feelings of power, dominance and determination along with their sense of happiness, excitement, and enthusiasm.
People who listened to the heavy-bass music said they experienced greater feelings of power than those who listened to the more subdued variation, but the increased bass element did not affect feelings of happiness or excitement.
Those who heard the composition with prominent bass elements also produced more power-related terms in a word-completion test.
Likewise, those who heard familiar “high-power music” such as Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” volunteered to be the first participants in a debate competition and scored higher on a test measuring abstract thinking, compared with people who listened to widely-known “low-power music” like “Who Let the Dogs Out?”
Feeling powerful is more important than actually possessing power in achieving superior performance, confirmed by University of California San Diego’s Pamela K. Smith with Daniël H.J. Wigboldus of Radboud University Nijmegen, and University of Amsterdam’s Ap Dijksterhuisc.
They reported this well-validated finding and expanded Smith’s previous report, with NYU’s Yaacov Trope, that people’s subjective sense of power is partly determined by individual information processing style.
Smith’s team found that people who demonstrated abstract thought reported greater sense of power, greater preference for high-power roles, and more feelings of control over the environment, compared with people who were primed to use concrete thinking.
Subjective feelings of power can be enhanced by listening to music with a prominent bass element, in addition to writing “power primes” and assuming expansive body postures.
-*How do you increase your personal experience of power?
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Blog – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary
LinkedIn Open Group Psychology in Human Resources (Organisational Psychology)