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How 'Sonic Booms' make us think, feel, and buy

The Sonic Boom
The Sonic Boom

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Think about the twinkling sound of the ice cream truck you chased after as a child.

What do you think of? Can you feel the heat of Summer? Can you taste refreshing ice-cream?

Or, if you're the owner of an Apple product, imagine the promising tone you hear when you start up your device.

What about the "Jaws" theme song? Duunnn-unn, duunnn-unn...

Feeling anxious?

Joel Beckerman is a strategic sound consultant, and he examines why sounds make us feel what we feel, and, often, act how we act, in his new book, "Sonic Boom: How Sound Transforms What We Think, Feel, and Buy." The book explores dozens of stories where sound and music create 'boom moments' in our lives, that transform our experiences in an instant.


You're a strategic sound consultant. What does that mean?

That's a fancy word. Really what I am is I'm a composer and I'm a lover of music. I'm a life-long student of sound in all it's incarnations. And I guess that fancy term is a way of talking about somebody who takes all that knowledge and that thinking and applies that to brands and to products, and to how that connects with customers in all sorts of touch points and experiences.

What happens psychologically when we hear sound that evokes emotions in us?

The short-cut way of talking about this is to say that, when you hear sound, it triggers off this neurological constellation of activity in your brain and it triggers emotions very directly...and really it's the oldest parts of the brain that are triggered by sound. That's why it's at the subconscious level.

When you think about it, it makes sense just from a human evolution standpoint, that it's really important for us to be able to discern as a species whether what was behind the bush was going to eat us or that was our lunch. So, we really had to have an instinctual survival mechanism. In fact, it's interesting to note that we respond to sound much faster than any other sense, even touch.

When you think about it, there are so many different things we experience in life that are actually these multi-sensory chain reactions of multiple senses. We see, we hear, we smell. Sound, because we respond to that quickest, ends up actually being the sense that organizes all the other senses.

About our own human audio calling card -- our voice

Research...basically says that literally seventy percent of the information we glean from conversations has to do with the way something is expressed to us. Only about thirty percent of it is actually the words being said, the content. So it's not only about the words you say. Often, it's even more about the way that you say it.

Beckerman invites you to explore the hidden world of sound and music and it’s impact on your life in the Sonic Boom Interactive Experience. Feel for yourself how sound transforms the way you think, feel, and buy, even download a stress-relieving playlist Beckerman's created.