What psychological roles does music play in our lives?
Modern technology means it’s never been easier to hear exactly the music we want, whenever we want it. But whatever technology we use, the reasons we listen to music are universal.
Music grabs our emotions instantly in a way few other art-forms can manage. It engages us on all sorts of different levels. A few bars of a song can take us back decades, to a different time and place.
So what are the universal psychological functions of music? Lonsdale and North (2010) asked 300 young people about their main reasons for listening to music to see which came out top. Here are the answers, in order of importance, counted down from six to the number one spot.