Now that we are deep in the throes of the holiday season (really just one week but, who's counting?) it's time we address the forthcoming onslaught of holiday music. No matter where you go, Andy William's It's The Holiday Season will warmly greet you and Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You punch you in the face every chance it gets.
Surprisingly enough, the holiday season actually sees a spike in cases of depression and people just generally feeling miserable, much of which stems from the adjustment of Daylight Saving Time, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and a bunch of other scientific stuff, the amount of holiday music that we're subject to can actually take a toll on our overall mood. Psychologist Linda Blair says that it can take an even bigger toll on retail workers who can sit through the Christmas tunes for 40 hours per week.
For some people, the holiday music can actually have a positive effect through something called the "Mere Exposure Effect." The music can actually trigger up a sense of nostalgia and put people in a cheery mood, which is why retailers so quickly introduce the tuneage to their stores once November rolls around. Exposing shoppers to the sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas and the holidays, will typically drive them to spend more money.
However the exposure effect will work differently on people who are constantly exposed to the music. Linda Blair explains that the music will eventually eat away at retail worker's psyche.
“People working in the shops [have to tune out] Christmas music, because if they don’t, it really does stop you from being able to focus on anything else,” Blair told Sky News. “You’re simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing.”
Believe it or not, music torture is actually a thing too! Now, we're not saying that retailers are purposely torturing their employees, BUT this method of interrogations is actually used by the CIA and the US government. The method exposes prisoners to the same song for hours upon hours until they cave and give up information.
“If you play it for 24 hours, your brain and body functions start to slide, your train of thought slows down and your will is broken,” Sergeant Mark Hadsell, who works as part of the U.S. Psychological Operations team, told MIC. “That’s when we come in and talk to them.” And if it doesn’t work initially, the CIA has been known to torture prisoners with deafening levels of repetitive music for months.
So when you're doing your holiday shopping over the next few weeks, remember to BE NICE to the cashier ringing you up. And if you're totally one hundred percent into the whole holiday music thing, lean on in and give our North Pole Radio a shot!