Almost all of us enjoy listening to music; it is also referred to as a universal language. Beyond being a form of entertainment, music can change our emotions and influence our behaviour in a variety of ways. At times, music serves as a source of motivation and upliftment, while on other occasions, it can bring a sense of sadness. This article aims to explore both the positive and negative impacts of music on human behaviour 

The Benefits of Music

  • Music Improves Memory

Music can have a positive impact on memory and retention. In one study, researchers found that participants who listened to classical music performed better in retention and recall as compared to those who worked without music or with white noise. Although music can’t reverse memory loss from conditions like dementia, it can slow down cognitive (memory) decline. 

  • Music Lowers Anxiety 

There is significant evidence to suggest that listening to music can help reduce anxiety. A study conducted in 2013 concluded that listening to music after a stressful event can help the nervous system recover faster, promoting quicker relaxation. Another study suggests that listening to music reduces the levels of stress hormones in the body. Listening to music can also help regulate breathing and heart rate, which are physical symptoms of anxiety.

  • Music Helps With Symptoms of Depression

Music can change and uplift our mood. According to research from 2017, it was found that listening to music, especially a combination of classical and jazz genres, had a positive impact on symptoms of depression. The impact was even more positive when several music sessions were conducted over some time.

  • Improved Mood

As per neurologists, music has been found to trigger the release of neurochemicals such as dopamine (a chemical associated with pleasure), cortisol (stress hormone), oxytocin, and serotonin, all of which are key to brain function and mental well-being.

The Harmful Side of Music

Although listening to music can help in various ways, it can have negative effects as well. Some of them are:

  • Music Promotes Aggression

Some music genres, characterized by explicit lyrics and aggressive beats, may contribute to increased aggression. A research study suggests that listening to songs with violent lyrics can increase aggressive thoughts and emotions among young people. The research also stated that repeated exposure to violent songs can contribute to the development of an aggressive personality.

  • Music and Substance Use

Certain genres of music may end up glorifying or promoting substance use through its lyrics. Research from 2016 suggests that listening to rap music is positively associated with problematic alcohol and drug use and even aggressive behaviours among teenagers.

  • Rumination

Although music has the potential to uplift moods, tuning in to sad music when you’re already feeling down can intensify feelings of sadness and activate negative thoughts. This cycle may contribute to a sense of being trapped in negative emotions.

  • Stereotypes

Music videos and lyrics can reinforce stereotypes, adding to societal biases. When certain groups or individuals are portrayed stereotypically in music, it can shape how people see them, strengthening biased attitudes.

How To Reduce The Harmful Effects of Music?

  1. Make intentional choices regarding the music you consume. Be aware of the lyrics, themes, and overall tone of the music that you consume
  2. Like any influential medium, moderation is crucial. Try to maintain a balance in music consumption while exposing yourself to a diverse range of genres and themes.


The power and influence of music on the human mind and behaviour are undeniable On one hand, it can contribute to an improved mood and help with symptoms of anxiety and depression, while on the other, it can also promote aggression, substance use, and stereotyping. Ultimately, like any other medium, we need to be conscious of our musical choices to avoid these side effects.


  1. Benefits of Music on Body, Mind, Relationships & More. (2020, April 1). Healthline.
  2. Chen, M.-J., Miller, B. A., Grube, J. W., & Waiters, E. D. (2006). Music, Substance Use, and Aggression. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 67(3), 373–381.
  3. Thoma, M. V., La Marca, R., Brönnimann, R., Finkel, L., Ehlert, U., & Nater, U. M. (2013). The Effect of Music on the Human Stress Response. PLoS ONE, 8(8), e70156.
  4. Violent music lyrics increase aggressive thoughts and feelings, according to new study. (n.d.). Https://Www.Apa.Org. Retrieved January 19, 2024, from
Dhruva Koranne

Dhruva Koranne has completed his Masters in Applied Psychology from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, BALM. He has been practicing as a counsellor since 2020 and works to create a safe space for clients where they can open up. In addition to this, Dhruva loves researching and studying about upcoming theories in the field of Psychology. Connect with him on Linkedin