And you thought it was just for your entertainment!

Image courtesy of albioninnovation.org

Image courtesy of albioninnovation.org

Science has once again given us an example of “mind control” in use today.  Although the term might conjure some sci-fi imagery, we are not being controlled like mindless zombies. (Or are we?)

The topic in question comes from a news tidbit found online at AAAS’s Science news magazine. There is a study which demonstrates that the background music playing at your favorite shopping store or restaurant may be influencing your purchases.  Initially, volunteers read a menu while listening to a certain type of music.  Three regions were represented—United States, China, and India.  The volunteers were instructed to read the menus while the music played, then afterward choose a food item that they would like to “order.”  It was observed that volunteers tended to choose food that represented the region matching the music played.  For instance, If American music played, they chose hamburgers and hot dogs.

For the second part of this experiment, the volunteers were exposed to country or classical music while “shopping.”  It was observed that classical music influenced people to be willing to pay more for items which spoke to their “social identity,” while country music listeners in this project aimed for useful items such as pens.  This suggests that Mozart might make us spend more money for that gold watch, while Kenny Chesney might make us become more spendthrift.

I found it curious, especially since this something we really take for granted.  Often we unconsciously tap our toes or bop our heads to the background music we hear while shopping or dining, but how often do we consider its influences?

Food for thought.

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