Presentation Title

The Mere Exposure Effect: How Complexity in Chord Progression and Rhythm Affects Likeability in Music

Location

Guzman Lecture Hall

Start Date

4-19-2018 3:00 PM

End Date

4-19-2018 4:00 PM

Department

Psychology

Student Type

Undergraduate

Faculty Mentor

Matthew Davis, Ph.D.

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

The mere exposure effect is a phenomenon characterized by greater liking for stimuli that we are exposed to repeatedly. The mere exposure effect explains why humans prefer things that are more familiar to them and has been observed in a variety of contexts including physical attraction, advertising jingles and logos, brand names, etc. Past studies have utilized this effect to investigate how humans perceive stimuli they like and dislike. While the mere exposure effect has been studied at length in the field of advertising, its impact on musical preference has not been well studied. Among those studies that have focused on music, one finding was that the perceived complexity of the music did not affect judgements of likeability, but the stimuli utilized in this finding only involved popular music. The purpose of the present study was to focus on different types of musical complexity (primarily from outside of the formula of popular music) to determine how they affect the listener’s experience of the melody. Approximately 30 participants were recruited from a northern California university. Participants each listened to a melodic variation multiple times, with other music serving as a buffer between exposures to prevent boredom. They then provided ratings of likeability and complexity of the melodies. Data are still being collected; however, it is expected that more exposures will be required to reach the same level of likeability for the complex variations than for the simple variation. This may be explained by the fact that it is easier to attend to a simpler melody than one that is more complex.

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Apr 19th, 3:00 PM Apr 19th, 4:00 PM

The Mere Exposure Effect: How Complexity in Chord Progression and Rhythm Affects Likeability in Music

Guzman Lecture Hall

The mere exposure effect is a phenomenon characterized by greater liking for stimuli that we are exposed to repeatedly. The mere exposure effect explains why humans prefer things that are more familiar to them and has been observed in a variety of contexts including physical attraction, advertising jingles and logos, brand names, etc. Past studies have utilized this effect to investigate how humans perceive stimuli they like and dislike. While the mere exposure effect has been studied at length in the field of advertising, its impact on musical preference has not been well studied. Among those studies that have focused on music, one finding was that the perceived complexity of the music did not affect judgements of likeability, but the stimuli utilized in this finding only involved popular music. The purpose of the present study was to focus on different types of musical complexity (primarily from outside of the formula of popular music) to determine how they affect the listener’s experience of the melody. Approximately 30 participants were recruited from a northern California university. Participants each listened to a melodic variation multiple times, with other music serving as a buffer between exposures to prevent boredom. They then provided ratings of likeability and complexity of the melodies. Data are still being collected; however, it is expected that more exposures will be required to reach the same level of likeability for the complex variations than for the simple variation. This may be explained by the fact that it is easier to attend to a simpler melody than one that is more complex.