Listening to songs has been proven to affect the way we feel. A new study discovered that listening to “sexy” songs can enhance people’s sense of touch. The researchers found that the relationship between music and the sense of touch may have affected our evolution as a species, as song choices brought certain individuals together to mate.
The researchers, from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences from Leipzig, Germany, found that there are various perceptions on the sense of touch, which depended on the music played. The study was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.
“We have observed that the sexier we perceive music, the sexier we also perceive touch that is administered simultaneously,” Tom Fritz, lead author of the study and a professor, told The Daily Mail.
The study was conducted with the assistance of a robot to interpret the effect of sensual music. As the participants listened to different pieces of music, they placed their arm behind a curtain where either a robot or a person stroked it. They then evaluated the music played on a scale of being “not at all sexy” to “extremely sexy.” Results revealed that the sense of touch was transported by the music. At one point, the participants believed that a human touched them, instead of a robot.
In another experiment, the effect of music remained the same on the touch’s sensualness when the participants knew that a robot touched them.
“Music seems to change our perception of touch,” Fritz said.
The researchers suggested that the conveyance of emotions in music follows the same aspect of touch, like how sad songs are associated to a sad touch. However, they are uncertain why sensual music heightens the sense of touch. (Related: Music Shown to Facilitate the Development of Neurons in the Brain.)
“These results also illustrate the evolutionary relevance of music as a social technology,” Fritz said.
Listening to flavor
Previous studies also found out that music affects other senses, like the sense of taste.
It was reported in a 2016 article by The Guardian that a study showed that high-frequency sounds enhanced the sweetness of food, while low frequencies bring out the bitterness.
The researchers from the Crossmodal Laboratory at Oxford University fed a group of volunteers some cinder toffee while playing high- and low-frequency sounds. They asked them to rate the taste on a scale running from sweet to bitter.
In a 2017 study by scientists at the University of Oxford, results showed that certain types of music — those with fast beats, distorted notes, and high-pitched sounds — enhanced the sensation of heat from chili peppers, as reported by The Telegraph. The researchers found that specific soundtracks boosted the spiciness of food by up to 10 percent and they described the effect as “sonic seasoning.”
Both studies were led by Charles Spence, a professor and an experimental food psychologist of the said university.
“People found that fast tempo, high pitch, and high levels of distortion matched well with spiciness. Any music with those characteristics would be more likely associated with spiciness,” Janice Wang, a psychologist at the University of Oxford and an author of the study said in the article.
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