The Influence Music Can Have on Players
It might be the food of love, but music is also many other things as well and can have a major effect in every area of our lives.
It’s present in some form or another almost all the time, whether we’re in the supermarket, eating in a restaurant or watching a film and quite often we can even be unaware of it in the background. But, nevertheless, it can be affecting our mood almost without our realising it.
In fact, there has been a great deal of research carried out into exactly how and why music is one of the most effective methods of non-verbal mood enhancement and is one which seems to have a direct link to our brain – in many cases short-circuiting our normal thought processes.
One of the key ways in which it can achieve this is by helping to generate the production of dopamine in our brains – a chemical that is associated with creating an overall sense of well-being. It’s what is produced after exercise or even eating chocolate – and listening to the right piece of music at the right time can help to create an equivalent high.
Physical changes also accompany psychological ones when we listen to music. So a fast and exciting piece can raise our heart rate and start to get our adrenaline pumping – for example when we get into the car, put on the radio and hear a rock song we’re more likely to speed. Surprisingly, it’s also been found that any kind of emotional music can make us more likely to have an accident.
Anyone who plays video games of any kind will also know that the soundtrack that accompanies them is an integral part of the gaming experience and that games developers use ever-more varied and complex sonic devices to add to the playing experience.
These range from using pentatonic scales to signal that a player’s achieved a certain level or passed a particular test to using non-linear sound when the desire is to shock or surprise. An example of the former would be “level complete” effect from a Super Mario Game and of the latter would be the shocking “screech” from the famous shower scene in Hitchcock’s “Psycho”.
Naturally, in an environment where attempts are being made to influence players’ behaviour music is also key, whether they are playing online slots or are settled in for an evening in the casino.
These are the ideal environments to subliminally affect players as most of their concentration will be on the game they are playing. Broadly speaking, researchers have found that slow tempo music encourages players to linger over a game while faster pieces can encourage quick and even hasty, decision making. So depending on the type of game being played one or other kind of music is more likely to be played, often in different parts of the casino at the same time.
So bear this in mind next time you’re playing and, for all those Abba fans out there, let’s hope it’s more a case of “Money, Money, Money” and less of “Every Loser Wins”!