Effect of mode on mood and of musical preferences in adolescence on self-esteem in adulthood

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Frazer, Patricia
Downey, Paul
Olin, Sarah
Issue Date
Northern Ireland Branch of the British Psychological Society
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Objectives: To explore the influence of music on identity formation, the relationship between adolescent music preference and adult self-esteem was examined. The effect of musical mode on mood was also investigated with the use of original musical compositions. Design: Split into two sections, the current research mixed a correlational with a true experimental design. Both sections adopted non-probability sampling techniques. Method: The Short Test of Music Preferences Revised (STOMPR) was used to measure both current music preferences in adulthood, and was also revised to retrospectively measure musical preferences in adolescence. In the experimental section, participants were randomly assigned to listen to an original composition in either the major or minor mode before completing the UWIST Mood adjective checklist. Results: A non-significant result showed that adolescent music preferences were not valid predictors of self-esteem levels in adulthood. Musical mode was found to have a small but significant interaction effect on mood. Conclusion: By creating original compositions for musical experiments, we can isolate the effect of mode from other song features to explore its impact on mood. The widely used STOMPR can be used to measure preferences at different stages of life to allow examination of evolving musical tastes over time. Many participants who had the opportunity to hear both compositions anecdotally reported that they preferred whichever they were exposed to first- this could be an interesting avenue for further investigation.