Dr. Kevin Kniffin, the study's lead author and behavioral scientist at Cornell University, explains that music is a pervasive part of modern life and that it sometimes melts "into the background at supermarkets or gyms and other times it's more prominent like in places of worship or at presidential nominating conventions." While individuals consider music an essential part of their lives, earlier studies have been unable to look into the importance employees place on music in their environment because it is often taken for granted.
For the paper, Dr. Kniffin and his colleagues from Cornwell, Dr. Jubo Yan, Dr. Brian Wansink, and Dr. William Schulze, referenced two separate studies that they spearheaded to evaluate the influence of different types of music on the cooperative behavior of 266 people.
In each study, the participants were organized into groups of three and given tokens. The members of each group were presented with "multiple opportunities to contribute to the team’s value" by using the tokens. They also had the options to keep the tokens for themselves.
In both studies, when music like Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl, which has an upbeat tune and is deemed a "happy" song, is played, the chances that team members would use the tokens to boost the group's value was higher, unlike when "unpleasant" music was played or if there was no music at all. This proves that happy music can encourage employees to make decisions that can benefit the whole team.
Dr. Kniffin shares that "music with rhythm" often boosts a person's mood, and the results of their studies reveal that there is a higher chance that individuals can work well together once they're listening to music that has a steady beat.
Dr. Wasink, study co-author and director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, notes that aside from having a scientific reason to let employees listen to some music while they're working, happy music is an effective way of fostering cooperation among workers and positively influencing their mood.
If you want to improve your mood with music therapy while you're at home or if you have free time at work, try some of the tips below:
You can learn more about other interesting scientific discoveries about music and other arts at Scientific.news.