We all know that peer pressure influences the lives of teenagers. But a new study has found that adolescents choose to listen to music that has been approved of by their peers rather than because they like it. Great new reasearch for the field of neuroaesthetics, bad news for al of us that still hold the view that our identity are self-moulded.
The study looked at teenagers listening to music on social networking sites such as MySpace, where a song’s popularity can be gauged by how many times it has been downloaded. The results suggest that if their musical choices do not match those of others, their brains recoil in fear.
The Daily Mail reports:
‘We wanted to know, for example with Amazon.com, when you see a four or five-star rating of something, does that make you like it more?’ Gregory Berns, Chair of Neuroeconomics at Emory University told the Times. Youngsters aged between 12 and 17 were played a track and asked to rate how much they liked it. Some of the group were then given the opportunity to see how popular the song was according to how many times it had been downloaded.
After an interval, they were all asked to rate the track again, with participants changing their ratings 22 per cent of the time after finding out the tune was a hit. More than three quarters switched to match the song’s popularity rating. Brain scans revealed that the first time the teenagers heard a song, regions associated with reward and pleasure were activated.
On the second hearing, those associated with anxiety and pain would light up, suggesting that fear made people change their ratings. The findings, which were published recently in the journal NeuroImage, back up previous research on conformity, which says that young people submit to peer pressure to avoid being teased.”