NORMA eResearch @NCI Library

The Effects of Music on Fear

Merriman, Seán (2022) The Effects of Music on Fear. Undergraduate thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

[thumbnail of Bachelor of Arts]
PDF (Bachelor of Arts)
Download (340kB) | Preview


This study was conducted to investigate if there is a relationship between music and fear. It was hypothesised that horror themed music combined with fear inducing imagery creates more of a fearful reaction than if the images were viewed in silence, the other hypothesis addressed was that fear inducing imagery coupled with classical music would lead to lower feelings of fear. Fear and music are both heavily researched and fleshed out topics but not together in this manner. Research has found links between parts of the brain responsible for processing emotion and parts responsible for processing sound or how affective, joyful imagery has more of a reaction if paired with a soundtrack deemed to elicit the same feelings. That is the purpose of this study, to investigate if there is a similar relationship between fear and music and to bridge that unexplored gap in the currently available research It was hypothesised that fear inducing imagery paired with a horror song would have. It was decided that simple random sampling would be used to recruit as many participants as possible for 2 groups. These two groups would rate a song based on how much fear they felt listening to it, view images themed after common fears in silence and rate them on how scary they were and listen to the song while viewing similar images. Each group would listen to a different song, one would listen to a horror themed song, and one would listen to a classical one. After this the total scores for each participant would be added for both the imagery without music condition, and the imagery with music condition. These results were processed in SPSS to find descriptive statistics and calculate Pearson’s product-moment correlation coefficient to determine if there is statistically significant relationship present. It was found that the first hypothesis was supported, horror themed music does increase feelings of fear when presented with phobia related images. The second hypothesis was disproven, as it was found that classical music also amplified feelings of fear while viewing scary images, however to a lesser extent than horror themed music.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > Psychology
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > Psychology > Emotions
Divisions: School of Business > BA (Honours) in Psychology
Depositing User: Clara Chan
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2022 11:53
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2022 11:53

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item