Masters Thesis

Music and Its Effects on Emotion Regulation, Emotional Catharsis and Psychological Well-being

Music is generally considered a powerful tool to experience emotions. However, there is mixed research on whether it can hinder or enhance our emotional states. the present study aimed to explore this concept further. Moreover, the purpose of this study was to examine music’s effects on emotional experiences and the potential mechanisms facilitating emotional catharsis when listening to music. These mechanisms included absorption, whether someone was a music major or not, mood-congruent music (sad), non-mood congruent music (happy), or white noise (control). a total sample of 68 students at CSUF was utilized, 40 being non-music majors and 28 being music majors. the Faces Scale and a Music Absorption Scale were used to measure emotional states before and after the musical intervention and to measure musical absorption levels, respectively. an independent samples t test was conducted, and it was found that musicians had significantly higher levels of musical absorption. an ANCOVA was performed, and the results found that music did facilitate emotional catharsis, but there were no major differences between musicians and non-musicians overall. However, the happy music did provoke the most emotional release, regardless of music major status. Interestingly, when listening to sad music, music majors experienced significantly more emotional release, therefore suggesting that if given specific conditions, facilitation of emotional catharsis through music can be effective and powerful. Implications of research findings, limitations and future directions are discussed


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