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5 Ways Restaurants Use Music to Influence You

5 Ways Restaurants Use Music to Influence You

For restaurants, music is an essential part of putting together a complete experience. Together with décor and lighting, background music plays an important role in influencing how much you spend and how you behave in restaurants.

The psychological influence music has over us as humans, is the very reason restaurants pay for a music license to play the right songs in their establishment. Here are some ways restaurants use music to influence you and how much you spend on your meal.

1. They play fast paced music

Many restaurants want you to come in and make a decision quickly without thinking too much about the price. Additionally, restaurants want you in and out quickly because it helps them get new customers seated faster without the need for more tables.

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Fast paced music helps them accomplish this because the tempo increases your heart rate and breathing rate, which causes you to do other things faster as well – meaning you’ll finish that meal and be out the door sooner rather than later.

 2. They turn it up

One of the most common complaints people have about restaurants is that the music is too loud. You go out to eat not only for the food but because it’s a social experience. You want to experience the atmosphere of a place other than your home with your friends or family.

Unfortunately, many restaurants don’t take this into consideration when it comes to the music. They turn up the volume for the same reason they play fast-paced music – because it gets customers moving faster.

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Many customers will leave and never come back if the volume is too loud. Smarter restaurants have come to understand this and adjust the volume to more comfortable levels to allow their customers to socialize and enjoy their meal.

3. They play classical music to increase alcohol sales

If a restaurant is on the more expensive end, classical music can influence your decisions when it comes to how much you’re willing to spend.

It turns out that classical music when combined with a classy atmosphere, can actually cause you to perceive high prices as less expensive. Because of this, restaurants that have a range of alcohol selections tend to play classical music so that you’re more likely to opt for a more expensive bottle of wine.

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4. They play “happy” music

Restaurants are smart enough to realize that customers are likely to spend more money when they’re in a good mood. Music is an extremely powerful way to influence emotions.

Sad songs can make us tear up, and happy songs make us want to dance. Because of this, restaurants typically avoid minor key songs that reinforce a sad or dismal mood and opt for major key songs that are likely to have a positive influence on your mood.

5. Smart restaurants use music to compliment the atmosphere

The most important part of music when it comes to restaurants is that it reinforces the other elements of a restaurant to form an immersive experience.

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Companies like Starbucks and Chipotle understand this. They have internal teams or individuals working daily to select the best songs to compliment the atmosphere they’re trying to provide to their customers. If customers have an awesome first experience, they’re likely to come back and spend more money in the business.

Conclusion:

While the music has the potential to point you in a certain direction, it can’t control you. You’re still making the decisions for yourself. The restaurants are simply doing their best to point you toward the behaviors and purchasing decisions that benefit them the most, which isn’t a bad thing if you’re ultimately happy with the decisions you’ve made and you enjoyed the restaurant itself.

Featured photo credit: pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on September 10, 2018

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

We thought that the expression ‘broken heart’ was just a metaphor, but science is telling us that it is not: breakups and rejections do cause physical pain. When a group of psychologists asked research participants to look at images of their ex-partners who broke up with them, researchers found that the same brain areas that are activated by physical pain are also activated by looking at images of ex-partners. Looking at images of our ex is a painful experience, literally.[1].

Given that the effect of rejections and breakups is the same as the effect of physical pain, scientists have speculated on whether the practices that reduce physical pain could be used to reduce the emotional pain that follows from breakups and rejections. In a study on whether painkillers reduce the emotional pain caused by a breakup, researchers found that painkillers did help. Individuals who took painkillers were better able to deal with their breakup. Tamar Cohen wrote that “A simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.”[2]

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Just like painkillers can be used to ease the pain of a broken heart, other practices that ease physical pain can also be used to ease the pain of rejections and breakups. Three of these scientifically validated practices are presented in this article.

Looking at images of loved ones

While images of ex-partners stimulate the pain neuro-circuitry in our brain, images of loved ones activate a different circuitry. Looking at images of people who care about us increases the release of oxytocin in our body. Oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone,” is the hormone that our body relies on to induce in us a soothing feeling of tranquility, even when we are under high stress and pain.

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In fact, oxytocin was found to have a crucial role as a mother is giving birth to her baby. Despite the extreme pain that a mother has to endure during delivery, the high level of oxytocin secreted by her body transforms pain into pleasure. Mariem Melainine notes that, “Oxytocin levels are usually at their peak during delivery, which promotes a sense of euphoria in the mother and helps her develop a stronger bond with her baby.”[3]

Whenever you feel tempted to look at images of your ex-partner, log into your Facebook page and start browsing images of your loved ones. As Eva Ritvo, M.D. notes, “Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people”[4]

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Exercise

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain. When our body is high on endorphins, painful sensations are kept outside of conscious awareness. It was found that exercise causes endorphins to be secreted in the brain and as a result produce a feeling of power, as psychologist Alex Korb noted in his book: “Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act on your neurons like opiates (such as morphine or Vicodin) by sending a neural signal to reduce pain and provide anxiety relief.”[5] By inhibiting pain from being transmitted to our brain, exercise acts as a powerful antidote to the pain caused by rejections and breakups.

Meditation

Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor who pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation therapy for patients with chronic pain, has argued that it is not pain itself that is harmful to our mental health, rather, it is the way we react to pain. When we react to pain with irritation, frustration, and self-pity, more pain is generated, and we enter a never ending spiral of painful thoughts and sensations.

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In order to disrupt the domino effect caused by reacting to pain with pain, Kabat Zinn and other proponents of mindfulness meditation therapy have suggested reacting to pain through nonjudgmental contemplation and acceptance. By practicing meditation on a daily basis and getting used to the habit of paying attention to the sensations generated by our body (including the painful ones and by observing these sensations nonjudgmentally and with compassion) our brain develops the habit of reacting to pain with grace and patience.

When you find yourself thinking about a recent breakup or a recent rejection, close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations produced by your body. Take deep breaths and as you are feeling the sensations produced by your body, distance yourself from them, and observe them without judgment and with compassion. If your brain starts wandering and gets distracted, gently bring back your compassionate nonjudgmental attention to your body. Try to do this exercise for one minute and gradually increase its duration.

With consistent practice, nonjudgmental acceptance will become our default reaction to breakups, rejections, and other disappointments that we experience in life. Every rejection and every breakup teaches us great lessons about relationships and about ourselves.

Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com

Reference

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