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Music Psychology for Marketing: The Influence of Music on Behaviour - MUS00121M

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  • Department: Music
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Mimi O'Neill
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

In branding, advertising and social media, music is rarely used in isolation. Instead, it is used to reinforce the mood or narrative of the message being delivered by an advert or marketing initiative and, ideally, the brand personality. As a result, musical effectiveness is principally reliant on emotional synchronisation with visual content to optimise the desired subconscious response. Benchmarking and measurement of this is therefore fundamental to optimising effectiveness.

We intuitively know that music can influence our mood, and that it is used frequently to guide narrative and elicit certain sentiments in movies and TV. Research has shown that music even has the power to influence the way we perceive short visual scenes and imagery, like those used in advertising. Moreover, these effects can happen subconsciously in the perceiver, and differ depending on what sentiment is targeted.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2023-24

Module aims

In this module, students will be introduced to psychological research in the field of music and emotion, and the way that this can be related to music marketing and consumption. It will examine theoretical and empirical approaches to studying musical expressiveness and the induction of emotion through music. Here, we will focus on the role of emotional responses to music. Furthermore, emotion genesis mechanisms will be discussed with respect to the literature available.

Module learning outcomes

Upon completion of the module, the student will:

  • Have an understanding of the use of music in brand identities, product selection, temporal perception, and other uses of music in marketing and advertising.

  • Be aware of specific theories and models that associate music with products to influence consumer behaviour.

  • Understand the mechanisms of emotion induction in response to music.

  • Consider how emotions can be seen as social phenomena that both shape and are shaped by social life.

  • Have a knowledge and understanding of some of the published literature on the psychology of music, and related areas in marketing and advertising in various media.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay : Literature Review
N/A 80
Presentation : Spoken Presentation (group, but with individual marks)
N/A 20

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Spoken presentation (20%): on a topic chosen by the student, with support from the module leader, related to content covered in the module.

Literature review (80%): group creation of marketing strategy in response to a brief, with evidence of incorporation of theories and literature discussed in the module.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay : Literature Review
N/A 80
Presentation : Spoken Presentation (group, but with individual marks)
N/A 20

Module feedback

Feedback provided to students within standard University timeframes.

Indicative reading

Alpert, M. I., Alpert, J. I., & Maltz, E. N. (2005). Purchase occasion influence on the role of music in advertising. Journal of Business Research, 58(3), 369-376.

DeNora, T. (2000). Music in everyday life. Cambridge University Press.

Gorn, G. J. (1982). The effects of music in advertising on choice behavior: A classical conditioning approach. Journal of Marketing, 46(1), 94-101.

Huron, D. (1989). Music in advertising: An analytic paradigm. The Musical Quarterly, 73(4), 557-574.

Martín-Santana, J.D., Reinares-Lara, E., & Muela-Molina, C. (2015). Music in radio advertising: Effects on radio spokesperson credibility and advertising effectiveness. Psychology of Music, 43(6), 763 – 778.

North, A. C., & Hargreaves, D. J. (2010). Music and marketing. In P. N. Juslin & J. A. Sloboda (Eds.), Handbook of music and emotion: Theory, research, applications (pp. 909–930). Oxford University Press.

Oakes, S. (2007). Evaluating empirical research into music in advertising: A congruity perspective. Journal of Advertising Research, 47(1), 38-50.

Ogden, J. R., Ogden, D. T., & Long, K. (2011). Music marketing: A history and landscape. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 18(2), 120-125.

Tom, G. (1995). Classical conditioning of unattended stimuli. Psychology & Marketing, 12(1), 79-87.

Zander, M. F. (2006). Musical influences in advertising: How music modifies first impressions of product endorsers and brands. Psychology of Music, 34(4), 465-48.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.