This is the most uplifting playlist ever, according to a neuroscientist

Stylish man listening to music on vignetting background

Stylish man listening to music on vignetting background

We all know that music can change our mood. If we have a positive association with the tune (and by positive I mean not a traumatic or negatively emotional attachment) then we generally feel better and more able to cope with the day, have more energy to tackle a problem or even simply notice more positive things around us and appreciate what we have.

A neuroscientist, Dr Jacob Jolij has analysed data and compiled a list of songs based on a ‘feel-good’ checklist of tempo, the key of the song and the lyrics. I’ve listed the songs below and you can read the original article that follows. The list reads like a rather cheesy list of all of the Best of.. albums you can purchase from motorway CD bargain bins, however I do get it. If you have to listen to them, they do put a smile of on your face, albeit a pained one. Enjoy.
Mark Jones Hypnotherapy

If you ever need a little pick me up, one neuroscientist says he has the playlist for you. Dr. Jacob Jolij, of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, created a playlist of feel-good and uplifting songs — and a formula for finding them.

The list was commissioned by British electronics brand Alba, which had done a large survey of customers around the U.K. and Ireland — asking everything from their basic music taste to what sounds they listen to to feel happier.

According to Jolij’s blog:

Basically, they asked me whether I could find a general pattern in the songs that respondents reported as ‘feel good songs’, and whether they could use this pattern to come up with a ‘formula’. I found this an interesting challenge, so I said yes.

The “most uplifting playlist” was the result.

The analysis

It wasn’t as easy as crunching some numbers, though. As Jolij wrote:

A “feel good song” is rather tricky to define. Music appreciation is highly personal and strongly depends on social context, and personal associations. In that respect, the idea of a “feel good formula” is a bit odd — factoring in all these personal aspects is next to impossible, in particular if you want to come up with a quantitative feel good formula. Basically, what you need are song features that you can express in numbers.

Those features, like tempo and mode, were used to analyse the song data set. Two big things stuck out to Jolij.

The big association that stood out was the tempo of the song. “The pattern was very clear — the average tempo of a ‘feel good’-song was substantially higher than the average pop song,” Jolij wrote. “Where the average tempo of pop songs is around 118 BPM, the list of feel good songs had an average tempo of around 140 to 150 BPM.”

There was also a difference in the key, he says: “Again a very clear pattern: only two or three songs were in a minor key, the rest was all in a major key.”

And lastly, the lyrics seemed to play a role, at least in the songs that made lyrical sense:

Of course, a song is more than its score. I have also looked at lyrical themes.

Predominantly, the feel good songs were about positive events (going to a beach, going to a party, doing something with your love, etc.) or did not make sense at all.

The songs

So after deciding what the formula for an uplifting song was, how did this playlist get created?

“I had little to with that actually – we simply took the most often mentioned song per decade,”Jolij wrote. “They fit the ‘formula’ reasonably well.”

When asked if anything on the list surprised him, Jolij told Tech Insider: “No, not particularly. Which is a good thing actually — it shows the idea that up-tempo music in a major key makes the best feel-good song seems to work!”

While this obviously isn’t a peer reviewed study (and likely won’t ever be, Jolij says) in a journal I’m pretty psyched to add this playlist to my repertoire.

Source: Tech Insider

One Response so far.

  1. Dawn says:
    Does this include death metal? Or bumble bee?

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