Mar 30, 2020

Locus of emotion influences psychophysiological reactions to music

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Julia MerrillM. Wald-Fuhrmann


It is now widely accepted that the perception of emotional expression in music can be vastly different from the feelings evoked by it. However, less understood is how the locus of emotion affects the experience of music, that is how the act of perceiving the emotion in music compares with the act of assessing the emotion induced in the listener by the music. In the current study, we compared these two emotion loci based on the psychophysiological response of 40 participants listening to 32 musical excerpts taken from movie soundtracks. Facial electromyography, skin conductance, respiration and heart rate were continuously measured while participants were required to assess either the emotion expressed by, or the emotion they felt in response to the music. Using linear mixed effects models, we found a higher mean response in psychophysiological measures for the perceived than the felt task. This result suggested that the focus on oneself distracts from the music, leading to weaker bodily reactions during the felt task. In contrast, paying attention to the expression of the music and consequently to changes in timbre, loudness and harmonic progression enhances bodily reactions. This study has methodological implications for emoti...Continue Reading

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