Seminar Series

Emotions Evoked by the Sound of Music

One reason for the universal appeal of music lies in the emotional rewards that music offers to its listeners. But what makes these rewards so special? A series of studies will be presented in which my collaborators and I examined emotions that are most and least induced by music – a line of work that eventually led to a model of musical emotions, comprising nine categories of “musical emotions”. I will then outline a model of musical emotion induction, in which successful musical emotion induction is understood as a multiplicative function of musical, performance, listener and contextual features. In the second part of my talk I will turn to the foundations of affective responses to music both developmental and biological. In particular, I will present evidence (including videotaped demonstrations) for infants’ preference of consonance over dissonance and for musical entrainment to movement in infants – a phenomenon resembling dancing. I will conclude with some preliminary findings from our current work on the neuroscience of musical emotion and plans for future research.