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Emotion in Music by Brianna Lear

Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence (August 2015)

Brianna Lear

on 21 January 2016

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Transcript of Emotion in Music by Brianna Lear

Elements of Music

- length of sound/silence
- speed of the beat
- recurring accent patterns
- loud
Piano -
- growing intensity
- lessening intensity

emotion in music
- highness/lowness
- family of pitches
- major 3rd
- minor 3rd (flattened)

- several simultaneous notes
- smooth-sounding, harmonic
- harsh-sounding, inharmonic
What is "sad" vs. "happy"
Research has found the following trends:

upbeat tempo/major mode = happy for many people
slow tempo/minor mode = sad/fearful for many people
mixed tempo and mode = mix of emotions

(Fritz et al., 2009; Hunter, Schellenberg, & Schimmack, 2008; Kastner & Crowder, 1990; Droit-Volet et al., 2013)

What is sadness?

“Sadness is a negatively valenced affective state characterized by low physiological arousal.”

-Huron (2011)

Does the minor key emulate the human vocal expression of sadness?
Six acoustic factors are associated with
sadness expressed in speech:

1) low pitch
2) small pitch movement
3) quieter
4) slower
5) more mumbled articulation
6) darker timbre (Huron 2011)
Depressive Realism
When sad we are:

More realistic (Alloy & Abramson, 1979)
More detail-oriented thinking
Less judgment bias
Less reliance on stereotypes (Clore & Huntsinger, 2007)
Greater memory accuracy (Storebeck & Clore, 2005)
“the purpose of sorrow is to conserve energy and aid reassessment of priorities for the future following a traumatic event” (Huron, 2006)
Does listening to "sad" music while we are in a state of sadness aid in self-reflection and insight?
Listening to "sad" music in a state of sadness decreases our level of arousal and promotes self-reflection and insight.
Hormones and sad music
Prolactin - tranquility, calmness, well-being, or consolation.
Homeostatic process to make us feel better (Huron, 2011)
Depressive Realism?

Survey Questions
Self-Reflection and Insight Scale (SRIS)
Mood Meter
Heart Rate
Facial Expressions (FACS)
Memory Recall (how many words typed to describe memory)
Music Stimuli

Experimental condition
: slow/minor song -
Adagio in G minor
by Albinoni

Control condition
: upbeat/major song -
Allegro - A little night music
by Mozart

(Mitterschiffthaler, Fu, Dalton, et al., 2007)
Part I
Survey Questions

Open-ended questions about listening to music when sad
Self-Reflection and Insight Scale (SRIS)
Example items:
- “I frequently examine my feelings”
- “I am usually aware of my thoughts”
- “I’m often aware that I am having a feeling, but I often don’t quite know what it is”

Part II
Recalling a sad memory

Physiological sensors (heart rate, facial expressions)
Intro to Mood Meter (video).
Plot self on the Mood Meter
Sad memory (3 minutes)
Plot self on the Mood Meter again

Part III
Music Stimulus and Response

Listen to music stimulus (experimental or control)
Plot self on the Mood Meter
What is one word to describe how listening to this song made you feel? (open-ended)
Have you heard this song before?
Was the song you just listened to happy, sad, or neutral?

Expected Results from Measures
Survey Questions
higher score (SRIS) = prefer sad music = lower arousal
(Huron, 2011)

higher score (SRIS) = more words describing memory
(Dimaggio, Lysaker, & Carcione et al., 2008)

sad = slower heart rate, frown, and narrowing of the brow
(Etzel, Johnsen, Dickerson, Tranel, & Adolphs, 2006; Krumhansl, 1997; Kanade & Cohn, 2000)
Music Therapy and Everyday Life
Music therapy
Children on the autism spectrum (Kim, Wigram, & Gold, 2009)
People with dementia (Scansdottir & Snaedal, 2006)
Everyday emotion regulation and self- reflection
Future Directions
fMRI study

cross-cultural study

longitudinal study
Thank You!

Blood, A., & Zatorre, R. (2001). Intensely pleasurable responses to music correlate with activity in brain regions implicated in reward and emotion. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 11818-11823.

Cabanac, M. (2002). What is emotion? Behavioural Processes,69-83.

Casey, B., Getz, S., & Galvan, A. (2008. The adolescent brain.Developmental Review, 62-77.

Chapter 1- The Elements of Music (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.wmich.edu/mus-gened/mus150/Ch1-elements.pdf July 10, 2015

Cousineau, M., Mcdermott, J., & Peretz, I. (2012). The basis of musical consonance as revealed by congenital amusia.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 19858-19863.

Harrington, R., & Loffredo, D. (2010). Insight, Rumination, and Self-Reflection as Predictors of Well-Being. The Journal of Psychology, 39-57.

Hoyer, J., & Klein, A. (2000). Self-Reflection And Well-Being: Is There A Healthy Amount Of Introspection? Psychological Reports, 135-141.

Huron,D. (2006). Sweet Anticipation: Music and the Psychology of Expectation. Cambridge, MA:MIT Press.

insight. (n.d.) Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary. (2012). Retrieved August 2 2015 from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/insight

Kim, J., Wigram, T., & Gold, C. (2009). Emotional, motivational and interpersonal responsiveness of children with autism in improvisational music therapy. Autism, 13(4), 389-409. PMID: 19535468

Levitin, D., & Tirovolas, A. (2009). Current Advances in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Music. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 211-231.

Lyke, J. (2009). Insight, but not self-reflection, is related to subjective well-being. Personality and Individual Differences,66-70.

Molnar-Szakacs, I., & Overy, K. (2006). Music and mirror neurons: From motion to 'e'motion. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 235-241.

Pallesen, K., Brattico, E., Bailey, C., Korvenoja, A., Koivisto, J., Gjedde, A., & Carlson, S. (2010). Cognitive Control in Auditory Working Memory Is Enhanced in Musicians. PLoS ONE.

Self-reflection. (n.d.). Retrieved August 2, 2015, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/self-reflection

Swenson, R.S. (2006) Chapter 9 - Limbic System. Retrieved from https://www.dartmouth.edu/~rswenson/NeuroSci/chapter_9.html July 10, 2015.

Svansdottir, H., & Snaedal, J. (2006). Music therapy in moderate and severe dementia of Alzheimer's type: A case–control study. IPG International Psychogeriatrics, 613-613.

Takano, K., & Tanno, Y. (2009). Self-rumination, self-reflection, and depression: Self-rumination counteracts the adaptive effect of self-reflection. Behaviour Research and Therapy,260-264.











by Brianna Lear
(10 female, 10 male undergraduates for each condition)
1 minute of each
What is music?
Why do we take comfort in
sad music?

Experiment Proposal
"Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything."

- Plato
What is emotion?
"There can be no knowledge without emotion. We may be aware of a truth, yet until we have felt its force, it is not ours. To the cognition of the brain must be added the experience of the soul."

-Arnold Bennett
Why is this important?
Self-reflection and insight through music
Insight leads to higher levels of happiness and life satisfaction (Lyke, 2009; Harrington & Loffredo, 2011)
Self-reflection a possible risk factor for psychological maladjustment (Hoyer & Klein, 2000)
Self-rumination or self-reflection? (Takano & Tanno, 2009)

Research Findings
: self-understanding as to the motives and reasons behind one's own actions or those of another's.

: careful thought about your own behavior and beliefs.
Directions for Research
Does listening to sad music promote:

self-reflection and insight
depressive realism
prolactin release in the brain
subjective well-being and overall happiness
Full transcript