The efficacy of musical emotions provoked by Mozart’s music for the reconciliation of cognitive dissonanceA recent hypothesis suggested that a fundamental function of music has been to help mitigating cognitive dissonance, which is a discomfort caused by holding conflicting cognitions simultaneously. It usually leads to devaluation of conflicting knowledge…Results of our experiment reveal that the exposure to Mozart’s music exerted a strongly positive influence upon the performance of young children and served as basis by which they were enabled to reconcile the cognitive dissonance.
“no one… has yet been able to answer the fundamental question: why does music have such power over us?”Here we provide experimental demonstration that music helps tolerating cognitive dissonance.
- Cognitive dissonance is “a discomfort caused by holding conflicting cognitions” simultaneously
- A recent hypothesis8, experimentally validated here, suggested that music can help mitigating cognitive dissonance and keeping conflicting knowledge in mind. People prefer to avoid this discomfort and usually they do it by devaluation of conflicting knowledge
- We concluded that indeed music helped mitigating the cognitive dissonance and no devaluation was needed.
This indicates that music has enabled the children to reconcile the cognitive dissonance, as hypothesized by the theory of the cognitive function of music
DiscussionThese results, obtained using methodology that reproduced the cognitive dissonance effects observed in previous research, indicate that these children experienced cognitive dissonance. Under the same circumstances, however, the 25 children in the group who were exposed to Mozart’s sonata were less likely to devalue the toy; the same was true for the 25 children in the group who were exposed to Mozart’s concerto. This indicates that music has enabled the children to reconcile the cognitive dissonance, as hypothesized by the theory of the cognitive function of music.