Music is an important part of many people’s lives. Scientists say that people spend 40% of their time listening to some kind of music directly or passively. Music has a variety of effects on people: it can make us happy, it can make us sad, it can annoy us, it can make us dance. But can music affect our decisions when gambling? To find an answer to this question we need to understand how music affects our psyche.
Music affects your mood
When we listen to music, there are some biological processes that happen in our body: our heart rate and breathing rate change and we can experience shivers, chills or emotional arousal. These effects occur because, when we listen to music, our body releases dopamine. Dopamine is an organic chemical that is released as a reward for completing self-preservation activities.
Neurologists claim that music is hardwired in our brain before our birth, explaining that babies are born with a sense of rhythm because they listen to their mother’s heartbeat for 9 months. In fact, babies start to react to happy songs by their 5th month and to sad songs by their 9th month.
Music affects your cognitive capabilities
You have probably heard that if you play classical music to a plant it will grow better, but have you heard that if you play classical music to a person, they will become smarter? This effect is known as Mozart’s Effect. Although the Mozart’s Effect theory says that if you listen to Mozart’s music you will become smarter, what actually happens is that Mozart’s music does not increase your intelligence but increases your concentration, allowing you to make better decisions. This effect lies in the soothing tones of Mozart’s music. Contrary to this, when listening to loud, chaotic, disturbing music, your concentration decreases and, according to some studies, you will lose 30% of your productivity.
Music affects your motor functions
Neurologists have conducted numerous studies to examine what parts of our brain activate when we listen to music. What they have concluded is that music activates the same parts of the brain which are responsible for body movement. This explains why we have an urge to move when we hear a beat.
So, can this affect our decision-making when we gamble? Yes!
For example, if I am playing poker and losing and at the same time my favorite song is being played, I might get overly hyped and try to bluff, thinking that I can’t lose. On the other hand, if I’m on a losing streak and I hear a depressive song, I might fold even when I don’t have to.
Furthermore, listening to Mozart’s music may increase our focus and concentration, which helps us make a better decision. When we are listening to heavy metal, our concentration lowers, which reduces our chances of winning.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t underestimate the power music when you gamble as it can cost your money.