Science Says: Bass Music Makes Listeners Feel More Powerful
Science Says: Bass Music Makes Listeners Feel More Powerful

Science has just confirmed what anyone who has ever raged at a Skrillex show has always known in their hearts: Bass music makes you feel powerful.

A study published yesterday in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science has determined that bass-heavy music inspired the greatest sense of power in test subjects who were exposed to various sounds.

The first phase of the study took 31 genre-spanning songs and identified how powerful each track made subjects feel, based on a seven-point scale. Songs were ranked from most to least powerful.

The study then looked to see if music highly correlated to power-related thinking and behavior. And guess what? It did! Researchers found that music predetermined to be powerful generated three common consequences of power: abstract thinking (i.e., an ability to see the big picture), along with a sense of perceived control in various scenarios, and the ability to make the first move in competitive situations. These are all characteristics of alpha types, who are recognized as ranking the highest in social hierarchies.

The bass dropped in the next part of the experiment, as researchers played subjects a track with either a light or heavy bass element. “We chose to vary bass specifically,” the study states, “because prior research suggests a link between bass and power. In particular, powerful people are more likely to speak with a deep, bass voice, and a bass voice is often associated with higher perceived power.”

After listening, participants rated how powerful, dominant and determined they felt, using a seven-point scale, with participants who listened to the bassier music reporting greater feelings of power. Thus, researchers concluded, “music with more bass increased participants’ sense of power.” These findings also support the “emerging notion that music can induce various psychological experiences other than emotions.”

Basically, all of this is why you feel more able to conquer the world when listening to Knife Party than you do while listening to, say, Disclosure.

For added food for thought, the study also found that humans begin processing music while still in the womb, and that most people listen to music recreationally before they begin watching television or reading.

In other news related to your brain on bass, a study last month determined that the brain has a natural affinity for and understanding of bass music, as it picks up on the rhythms of lower, bassier music faster than it does high-pitched noises.

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