Music choice reflects mood

June 8, 2012
MuPsych could reveal important information about the emotional state of youth

(Phys.org) -- What kind of music are you in the mood for? A new smartphone app designed to recommend music according to how listeners feel could provide insight into teen mental health.

Monash University PhD student, Will Randall, designed the smart phone app, MuPsych, as part of a study exploring how use personal music to regulate their emotions.

While enjoy some of their favourites, the innovative simultaneously collects data. Preliminary findings suggested there are a number of factors that influence how people use music to change their state of mind. Factors relate to the music itself, the listening context and the individual listener.

Currently studying Music Psychology at the School of Psychology and Psychiatry, Mr Randall said data collected by the MuPsych app could reveal important information about the state of adolescence, at a stage in their life often associated with emotional unrest and mental health decline.

“Music is an essential part of everyday life for young people, with increased levels of music listening related to adolescent psychosocial development,” Mr. Randall said.

“My research focus is on adolescent emotion regulation through music use and how this relates to levels of well-being.

“When people start listening to their music, MuPsych presents a short series of questions relating to mood, listening context and reasons for listening. Participants also complete psychological surveys on personality, musical experience and well-being.”

After using the personal music player for two weeks, participants can access four main features including automatic playlists that suit their current mood, new music suggestions based on previous choices, listening feedback and live music alerts for favourite bands playing locally.

Mr Randall said the app is available until late 2013 allowing researchers continuous collection and analysis of data.

The free app can be downloaded from the MuPsych website.

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