Psychology of sound: how music affects
mood and emotions

Sounds play a big role in shaping our moods and emotions in different ways. 

Music is the best example of sounds that have an impact on emotions. There is a psychology of sound that explains why and how music can affect our moods and emotions. It is considered a universal language to express feelings and make connections.

Different sounds in our surrounding environment make a visualization in our minds. Sounds can be good or bad, enabling us to have different emotions after hearing them. But, here is a complete process of how sounds are interpreted by our brain and forge different emotions.

Read this guide to delve into the depths of psychoacoustic and its effects.

Table of Contents

Why music affects mood and emotions? The psychology of sound

The psychology of sound is a scientific study of the perception of different sounds. These sounds can be in the form of speech, music, or other sources. Among these, music is an immensely influential force that brings emotion, builds connections and influences people’s moods.

In the past years, many studies have been performed on the relationship between music and emotions.

So, the following are the reasons why music influences our emotions.

Brain processing

Different brain parts play a role in processing emotions based on the music genre. The limbic system of our brain, which consists of the amygdala and hippocampus, plays a big role in this emotional processing.

This part of the brain also interacts with other regions, like the prefrontal cortex. It helps us to process cognitive behaviors and decision-making skills. Thus, whenever we hear music, our brain processes it and creates immensely influential emotional responses.


We explained which parts of the brain help to create powerful emotions in response to music, but how does this happen? You will get your answer after analyzing the neurochemistry of the brain. It is the study of chemicals that are released when we listen to music.

The main chemical used to understand the psychology of sound in music is dopamine.

It is a neurotransmitter which brings pleasure, joy, reward, or motivation. There is also another chemical, oxytocin, which brings the emotions of trust, bonding, or love. Thus, your brain releases these chemicals when processing emotional responses while listening to music.


How does music shape our emotions?

Music has been an important part of various people’s lives because it has a strong influence on their psychological well-being. With different rhythms and beats, music can shape our emotions and thoughts.

The following are some physiological responses you may exhibit when listening to music.

Reduce stress

There are different sounds or music that provide a sense of relaxation or reduce stress by activating the body’s soothing response. There is also a field of music therapy that was introduced to relax stressed persons.

Different rhythmic slow music can provide relaxation, slowing the gear rate and respiration. This therapy is mainly beneficial for the person suffering from anxiety or insomnia.

Thus, psychoacoustic effects are helpful in relaxing in stressful conditions.

Enhance mood

Psychoacoustics in audiology help in enhancing your mood by eliciting emotions like happiness, sadness, or joy. So, if you are listening to lively, upbeat music, it can enhance your emotions and energy level to provide a feeling of joy.

If you are listening to slow or soft music, it will give you a feeling of relaxation and reduce your stress.

Thus, music has a powerful impact on enhancing your mood by regulating your emotions.

Influence memories

Psychoacoustic also explains how sound and music can influence your memories. Research has shown that listening to music can enhance your concentration and influence memories because of the patterns and structure of music.

This process is called the Mozart effect, which is used to promote learning and academic performance.

You may also experience the influence of memories whenever you listen to music. Sometimes, these sounds may bring up a flood of memories because they are linked to them.

Influence physiological responses

Besides the psychoacoustic effect on emotions, there are some physiological responses linked to the sounds. By understanding the psychology of sound, you can learn the influence of music on physiological responses.

The most prominent physiological response to listening to music or sounds is a change in the heart rate or blood pressure. This type of sound is used during exercise to enhance the performance.

Moreover, some sounds or music have a relaxing effect that reduces people’s heart rates.


Healing power of sounds

People have liked music for centuries because it provides therapeutic effects by promoting emotional and mental well-being.

This perception of sound is used in healthcare centers.

However, it can provide the following therapeutic benefits to others when they listen to music.

Support mental health

As music has a profound impact on our emotions, music therapy is an amazing way to process your feelings. If someone is having mental health issues, they can get treatment by music therapy. It is a traditional therapeutic way for people’s mental well-being.

When they listen to relaxing music, it helps them reduce the symptoms or stress by providing a feeling of comfort. Such music therapies include techniques like guided imagery for mindfulness.

Managing pain

Music therapy of psychoacoustic also plays a role in managing the pain for people who are suffering from chronic pain. The perception of sound that provides relaxation is triggered by endorphins, which are natural pain relievers.

When you listen to soft and soothing music during the pain, your brain will release the endorphins that promote the comfort sensation and manage your pain.

Thus, the psychology of sound is helpful in managing chronic pains.

Encourage to communicate

With the help of music, you can encourage yourself to communicate and enhance your social skills.

Music therapy is helpful for a group of people to communicate and cooperate.

People who have communication difficulties can use music therapy to promote themselves for effective communication.

Combating loneliness

The psychology of sound is helpful for people who want to eliminate feelings of loneliness emotions.

Studies have shown that listening can enhance the feeling of relaxation and reduce the feeling of loneliness.

Whenever people listen to sounds, their brain starts to make visualizations that eliminate the feeling of loneliness.

Sound-Visual combinations effect

The part of our brain that processes words is smaller than the visual processing area.

Visuals have a great impact on our emotions, and these are a part of the psychology of sound. Whenever you listen to the sounds or Music, your brain will start to make visuals as per the sound.

For example, when you close your eyes, you’ll hear sounds like rain and a cool breeze; your brain processes the sounds and creates visuals in your mind, similarly, when you listen to a certain type of music, such visuals in the brain cause a change in your mood or emotions.

These psychological effects of sounds will predict the response people have in certain conditions.

So, these responses start from the sounds and process along with the visuals, making it a sound-visual combination effect.

Cultural significance of sounds

The psychology of sound not only provides the connection of music with emotions and memories, but it is also a source of cultural expression.

Different communities have different types of music that represent their culture. The pattern of sound and rhythm provides an individual perspective of culture.

Because of the cultural variations across different regions, it has become difficult for people to empathize with each other.

Music is a profound source of feeling the emotions of others. It is a significant impact of sounds that make the bond stronger among sincere individuals.

Music plays a significant role and impacts our lives in different ways. As it represents the specific region and culture, individuals can get an idea of the overall society. Music is also a source to convey the cultural aspects in different ways.

Thus, the psychology of sound is profoundly significant in people’s lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q – 1: What is the psychology of sound in marketing?

With the advancement in marketing, businesses always try to connect with the audience with their emotions. In this process, Music has proved to be an important source that enhances consumers’ emotions. To convey a positive message, brands use Music that evokes their emotions.

Q – 2: How does sound in music keep us safe?

Sudden sounds can make you startled or nervous, so listening to usic will keep you safe. You’ll have a habit of listening to sudden, shocking sounds. The psychology of sound helps you to understand your emotional responses and the significance of music. With the help of it, you’ll be able to understand the sudden sounds like a fire alarm.

Q – 3: What is sound according to psychology?

According to psychology, sound is a pattern of beats that passes through a medium to reach your ears and then your brain, so when you listen to Music, your brain processes and releases chemicals that produce emotional responses.


Understanding the psychology of sound is helpful as you’ll know why music is a profound source of sound. It has many emotional, psychological, and physiological effects on the individual’s life.

However, the cultural significance is also an important aspect of sounds that you must know.

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