Go With the Flow: When Listeners use Music as Technology

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Music has been shown to have a profound effect on lis-teners' internal states as evidenced by neuroscience research. Listeners report selecting and listening to music with specific intent, thereby using music as a tool to achieve desired psychological effects within a given context. In light of these observations, we argue that music information retrieval research must revisit the dominant assumption that listening to music is only an end unto itself. Instead, researchers should embrace the idea that music is also a technology used by listeners to achieve a specific desired internal state, given a particular set of circumstances and a desired goal. This paper focuses on listening to music in isolation (i.e., when the user listens to music by themselves with headphones) and surveys research from the fields of social psychology and neuro-science to build a case for a new line of research in music information retrieval on the ability of music to produce flow states in listeners. We argue that interdisciplinary collaboration is necessary in order to develop the understanding and techniques necessary to allow listeners to exploit the full potential of music as psychological technology.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 17th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference
Subtitle of host publicationISMIR 2016
PublisherInternational Society for Music Information Retrieval (ISMIR)
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016
EventISMIR 2016: The 17th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference - New York, NY, United States
Duration: 7 Aug 201611 Aug 2016
Conference number: 17


ConferenceISMIR 2016
Abbreviated titleISMIR
CountryUnited States
CityNew York, NY
Internet address

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