Can Music Have Negative Effects On Human Behavior And Emotions? Let’s Find Out!

Last Update on February 16, 2023 : Published on April 11, 2022

“Music is an outburst of the soul.” – Frederick Delius

Isn’t it true, though? Music is the language of the soul, so to speak. Music can help us heal, boost our mood, and lessen our emotional hurt. But have you ever considered the Side B or negative side of music? The one that we haven’t thought much about?

Music, with its many positive effects, can have some negative impacts on human behavior and emotions. I love listening to music, I mean, who doesn’t but we need to also look at the not-so-positive side of music.

In a recent study by the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, it was found that “listening to “aversive” music can trigger aggressive behaviors and primitive fight-or-flight responses,” In a similar study by the American Psychological Association, it was found that, “listening to violent song lyrics may lead to violent behavior.”

So How Does This Work? How does Music Affect Human Behavior?

At this point, you must be aware of the benefits of music as well as how music therapy can help in better psychological health. However, in these studies, it is recorded that not all music can have positive effects or can arouse pleasant emotions.

Listening to aggressive music or music with violent lyrics can induce feelings of hatred, and aggressiveness, and can also trigger the fight-or-flight response. These feelings are directed at others.

Another interesting result that this study produced was the reaction to one’s behavior. The participants reported feeling ashamed of their negative and aggressive reactions to music. This response suggests that music, in any way, is seen as a pleasant experience, and when there’s a negative reaction to music, it is automatically considered wrong.

According to the lead researcher of the study and the assistant professor in musicology from the University of Jyväskylä, Henna-Rikka Peltola,

“Although research indicates an indisputable positive potential for music, we have rather poor knowledge of its negative impacts,”

Peltola also adds saying, “Exposure to music in public spaces can arouse truly strong aversion and stress reactions in some people, which does not increase their wellbeing in any way.”

So what is the impact of music on human behavior? Let’s take a look!

What Are The Negative Effects Of Music On Human Behavior?


We’re all aware of the positive effects of music but what about the negative effects of music on human behavior and emotions? Are we truly aware of them?

Let’s find out!

1. Music Can Change Your Perception

Did you know that listening to music can change your perception of life as well as others around you? In a study published in 2011, it was found that visual perception can be altered by music. How we perceive the world not only depends on what we know but can also depend on how we feel.

Our mood can impact what we see. For example, listening to sad music can make us perceive the world differently aka less bright than it is. Now, imagine if you’re always listening to negative music, how will your perception of the world change?

2. Music Can Trigger Aggressive Thoughts

Music is a language that has been in existence for centuries. Even during war times, music was played to increase the motivation of troops so is it wrong when I say that music can entice aggressiveness too?

For example, drill music (a subgenre of rap) can trigger aggressive thoughts and violent acts. In another study, it was found that sexual-aggressive musical content increased aggressive thinking.

Additionally, men participants listening to misogynistic music were more likely to think negatively about women and vice versa. Music can subtly change how we view others.

3. Music Can Make Us Think Negative

What will happen when your music playlist is on a loop? Well, it’s not a bad thing but what if the music playlist consists only of sad songs? What do you think happens when you’re constantly drowning yourself in melancholic songs? Listening to sad songs once in a while is OK but not when you listen to them every day, for weeks or months.

Some studies suggest that people living with depression or who are prone to ruminating thoughts are often attracted to sad and melancholic music. These people also report feeling more depressed after listening to the music.

When you listen to sad music, it can trap you into a spiral of negative thinking. When you listen to such music, you feel worse, and to cope with those feelings, you come back and listen to the music mimicking your mood. It’s a never-ending cycle.

BEWARE! What You Listen To Matters!


How we react to music is what matters, at the end of the day. We all listen to music daily (at least 4 hours every day) and this habit of listening to music can impact our behavior, feelings, thoughts, and emotions.

Music, so ever-present in our lives, can influence how we perceive the world around us and the people around us. While music can help express our emotions that we can’t name, it can also trigger a response that is not-so-pleasant.

What you listen to matters a lot. What we choose to listen to can mean a lot. If you keep listening to music that produces emotions like melancholy, sadness, guilt, and similar strong emotions, then you’ll keep feeding your mind negativity.

Music can bring positivity to our lives but listening to music has negative effects that we should not ignore. Be mindful of what you listen to. There’s still more research needed to prove the negative effects of music. Your goal is to enjoy the music and bring positivity into your life and to those around you.

Always remember that music is a powerful weapon and we need to know how to use it to our advantage.

I hope this article helps you understand the effects of music on human behavior and emotions. For more, you can connect with me by sharing your thoughts in the comments below or write to us at

If you found this article helpful, do share this with your loved ones, and don’t forget to give us a thumbs-up.

Take care and stay happy!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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