Is the universal purpose of music to help us overcome cognitive dissonance? One scholar, Leonid Perlovsky, has suggested this may be the case.
Cognitive Dissonance is the stress or unease that comes with processing competing and contradictory information. It’s often related to when we learn new things that act in opposition to our already acquired knowledge. It’s a small mental struggle that most of us will be familiar with from time to time, and there has been some limited work carried out into how music can impact on it. It has been shown that when faced with Cognitive Dissonance people often struggle to align the old and the new information. Studies are now beginning to show that when faced with a situation that would induce Cognitive Dissonance, test participants are more able to relate contradictory or difficult information if they are listening to music at the time.
It’s an interesting use of music and we wonder what uses it could be put to? Could we persuade the mushroom hater in the office that the fungi on his pizza tastes great by making sure he’s browsing Bandcamp at the time?
We only have one bone to pick; surely the ‘universal purpose of music’ is to make us wiggle our bodies in unison with others?