Music Psychology: Why do people enjoy music?
Shinpei Ikegami
Department of Psychology
specialized teacher

Publication date: August 2023, 9
From the Department of Psychology blog
Next to Ikegami Sensei SJ
This time, we asked Professor Shinpei Ikegami, who specializes in music psychology, to write a special article introducing the appeal of "music psychology." ``Music psychology'' is also one of the distinctive fields that can be studied at Showa Women's University's Department of Psychology.Please use this as a reference when considering your career path 😊
[Please tell me about music psychology. ]
It is a field of study that scientifically investigates the various behaviors related to music (listening, playing, singing, composing, body movements, etc.) and the psychology related to these (e.g., recognition of rhythm and melody, emotions, memory, their development, etc.) .
Although it is called "psychology," it is closely related not only to psychology but also to various academic fields such as musicology, information science, medicine, education, and physiology.
[Please tell us about what made you decide to specialize in music psychology and what attracted you to it. ]
When I was in high school, my homeroom teacher gave me a book on music psychology, and I became interested in it, thinking, ``Wow, this is a field of study.''
I entered university internally, but by chance there was Professor Jun Shigeno, who was researching music psychology, in the psychology department, so I thought it would be interesting, so I joined the psychology department.Professor Shigeno mentored her from the time she entered the seminar as a third-year undergraduate until she earned her doctoral degree.
What I find most appealing is the ability to objectively examine why and how people enjoy music.Originally, I had been involved in music since my student days, and what I valued was the world of ``subjectivity'' centered on my own sensibilities.
Ever since then, I've had the question in my heart, ``How can people enjoy music more?'' and I've come up with my own answers, such as ``Maybe I should include this phrase,'' or ``I think it would be cool to play this way.'' I feel like I was trying to make it possible.
On the other hand, scientific "objectivity" is important when researching music psychology.At first glance, it was a completely different endeavor, but I felt that it was connected to answers to the interests and questions that I had had for many years, and I became more and more fascinated by it.
Ikegami Sensei Concert
[What kind of research can I do with the theme of music psychology? ]
Since music is influenced by various factors, the research themes of music psychology are extremely diverse.Personally, I am researching the process by which listening to music creates the feeling of wanting to move and feeling good, the influence of background music on consumer behavior, and the psychological functions of music.
Many of the seminar students also have music as their theme.Examples include research on the emotional experiences brought about by music, the effects of music on images, and dance.
[Are there any books or movies you recommend regarding music psychology? ]
For beginners who want to know what music psychology is, we recommend ``Introduction to Music Psychology'' (edited by Etsuko Hoshino, Seishin Shobo), and for those who want to learn more deeply, ``Handbook of Music Perception and Cognition'' (Kitaoji Shobo). We recommend.
For those who want to learn about sound in general (including voices, etc.) in an easy-to-understand manner, not just music, we also recommend ``Psychology of the World of Sound'' (written by Jun Shigeno, published by Nakanishiya Publishing).
When it comes to movies, I think it would be more interesting if you watch your favorite movies and pay attention to ``what kind of music is used in what scenes,'' rather than focusing on a specific work. Yes.
[Please give a few words to prospective students aiming to enter the Department of Psychology! ]
Psychology is a very broad subject.Almost anything related to the mind is the subject of research.
Therefore, I believe that each of you will be able to find a theme that you are passionate about when doing your graduation research (in my case, it happened to be music).
I hope that you will have fun while deepening your exploration of the mind so that you can explore the questions you have to your heart's content.


Click here for Mr. Ikegami's video