Struggling to Reconcile Conflicting Beliefs? Listen to Some Mozart -
Countless claims have been made regarding the music of Mozart. Studies have suggested it can relieve depression, decrease pain, and even spark an increase in certain types of intelligence. One recent paper found it even increased heart transplant survival in mice.
Two researchers have identified another benefit. They provide preliminary evidence that listening to Mozart can help us cope with cognitive dissonance—that intense feeling of discomfort that arises when we realize two of our core beliefs are at odds.
The ability to recognize and accept the unpleasant reality that our convictions sometimes conflict is a key sign of emotional maturity. Without it, our instinct is to devalue, or refuse to believe, the information that makes us uncomfortable.
One example: If climate change requires collective action, and your instinct is to prize individual liberty, you can quell any cognitive dissonance by simply refusing to believe global warming is real.
In the journal Scientific Reports, Nobuo Masataka of Japan’s Kyoto University and Leonid Perlovsky of Harvard University report the sounds of Mozart may help short-circuit that sort of self-deception.