Feeling Manipulated? It’s Probably the Soundtrack

Our aural senses are hard-wired to our emotions. That’s not a surprise to anyone, I’d imagine. What is interesting is the extent to which music can be used to manipulate our emotions. The BBC took a look at this from the perspective of movie soundtracks. The affects are potentially more pronounced because of the environment and our mental state. We head to the cinema keyed up in anticipation of being taken on an emotional rollercoaster, so we’re prime targets for some emotional manipulation.

The ways that we can be exploited is fascinating. We react physically to music and sound waves, even if it’s not necessarily in tune with what we’re watching. Horror filmmakers, for example, have admitted to using bass waves or vibrations at frequencies below the range of the human ear to induce fear in audiences. They can potentially ramp up the fear levels and heighten anticipation to the point the audience feels sick, even if nothing is happening onscreen. Worth keeping in mind next time you’re nestled in with some popcorn.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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