Ep 229: What Makes a Song Popular? How We Detect Melody

MichaelBiopsychology, Cognition, Intelligence and Language, Emotion9 Comments

Why are some songs popular? Guess what – psychologists actually know a lot of the answers. In this episode we’ll listen to excerpts from Leonard Cohen’s song Hallelujah, as well as Noisestorm’s Ignite, Adele’s Someone Like You, the Enterprise Theme from Star Trek, and even two pieces of music from the motion picture Koyaanisqatsi. We’ll especially deconstruct Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” … Read More

Episode 101: The Psychology of Music: The Role of Expectations and Minor Chords

MichaelBiopsychology, Emotion, Learning/Memory9 Comments

How does music affect us emotionally? Why do minor chords so sad? In this episode of The Psych Files I explore ideas from Daniel Leviton‘s fascinating book, Your Brain on Music, especially those ideas concerned with what composers do to draw you into their music by first conforming to your musical expectations and then carefully confounding them in order to surprise and delight.