Why Do We Like Music?: A Study of Musical Taste Preferences, the Science and Emotion


Musical taste and preferences describe the extent to which a person likes a specific type of music over another. Much of the music-preference studies such as Chamorro-Premuzic & Furnham and Bennett, have demonstrated that, even though music could be perceived as transitory, knowing the kind of music people prefer and why can contribute to understanding the attributes that signify their membership to certain groups or social classes. The aim of this essay is to address the question “Why Do We like Music?” and to examine the existing literature regarding the musical taste preferences, science and emotion.

Musical taste preferences, the science and emotion

A person’s choice of music to accompany activities often depends on the suitability of the music for the event. Based on as Chamorro-Premuzic & Furnham descriptions, the role of music in entertainment and energizing are central in determining its appropriateness for specific activities. One previous experimental study conducted by Bennett, examined the music preferences of a population and the factors they considered before they selected any music. The findings showed that people’s preferences are strongly influenced by the suitability and the ability of the music to motivate them. According to Bennett study, faster music is often liked for higher intensity activities.

Scientifically, music is viewed as an aesthetic sensor-based language that consist of temporally and spectrally complex auditory patterns that perceptually engage the emotional, cognitive and motor functions in a person’s brain. This gives it the ability to influence a person’s musical behaviors resulting in diverse experiences and mood responses. Many authors including Bryson and Cook & Dibben have also explored the role of music in influencing emotion, cognitive functions and social behavior. For instance, Bryson study emphasized the importance of music in altering mood states, feelings of pain and abnormal emotional experiences. Based on the previous studies, people may prefer a certain kind of music of because of its ability to evoke a positive emotion which plays a central role in achieving an organized behavior. In this way, people view music as an affective stimulus, considering the affective role that it plays in modulating behavior and cognition.


A person may like a particular music for a various reasons. As demonstrated in the above section. The study shows that music has the ability to alter and evoke a person’s emotional reactions and response. There is strong evidence that people like music for motivation, appropriateness, suitability and the ability to influence emotion, cognitive functions and social behavior.

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