Musikens inverkan på bilkörningen: har favoritlåten någon betydelse?

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Carin Öblad

The aim of this field study was to alter an individual’s driving behaviour with specially selected music. A further aim was to find out whether tests could reveal the driver’s personality and thus predict his/her attitudes to, for example, risk-taking.

Five individuals of various ages and sex took part in the study. The music being played had been mentioned by the participants as something they liked and disliked. In this interdisciplinary experiment both quantitative and qualitative methods were used.

The experiment was performed in two days on a motor track, equipped with various obstacles in varying configurations. A specially equipped car, made it possible to register the drivers’ behaviour and their comments when driving.

It was possible to distinguish a pattern among the participants regarding their personality, attitudes to music and risk-taking and this pattern corresponds to a certain extent with theories on sensation seeking. This very combination of statements, comments and tests must be interpreted as a first, albeit tentative attempt possibly worthy of further development. The conclusion to be drawn is that it is possible to measure changes in driving behaviour.

Since musical experiences are of an individual kind, it may be impossible to generalize about how different sorts of music affect the individual, both in the car driving environment as in other kinds of situation. It is, however, possible to start from the assumption that driving behaviour is affected by the following: music that provides a positive surprise, a favourite tune and tunes giving rise to stress or irritation. It seems to be an advantage to be familiar with the music, but not to like it too much.  

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