MARTHA ESTINA BANKS, University of Rhode Island


This dissertation provides an organized and carefully controlled model for the study of emotion and music. The study combines concepts from the fields of emotion, music, psycholinguistics, music and emotion, and music therapy. It is designed to overcome problems found in previous research. Under this model, the emotional impact of several components of music are examined both alone and in interaction with each other, unfamiliar stimulus music is used, the issue of context is addressed, and the experimental design is such that test-retest reliability is readily analyzed.^ The stimulus music was written by the experimenter and varied with respect to tempo, instrumentation, meter, and mode. Subjects reported reactions to the stimuli through rating scales of eight groups of emotions. The emotional groups under study were INTEREST-EXCITEMENT, ENJOYMENT-JOY, SURPRISE-STARTLE, DISTRESS-ANGUISH, DISGUST-CONTEMPT, ANGER-RAGE, SHAME-HUMILIATION, and FEAR-TERROR. Results of the study indicate that music does elicit emotions, and that tempo is important with respect to INTEREST-EXCITEMENT, ENJOYMENT-JOY, and DISTRESS-ANGUISH emotional groups. Musical context is important in effecting changes in emotion. A change in tempo from slow to fast elicits ENJOYMENT-JOY responses. Similarly, the tempo change from fast to slow elicits DISTRESS-ANGUISH responses. Vector effect, the change in response to a change in stimulus, was also examined. Tempo change led to differences in the response levels of the ENJOYMENT-JOY and DISTRESS-ANGUISH groups of emotions. In addition to the influence of individual components of music, several interactions among those components and context were found to be important in explaining emotional responses to music.^ A discussion section includes an overview of the results of the study, an examination of stimulus and response factors, comparison with results of previous research in the area of emotion and music, and a guide for future study in this area. The results of this experiment and others based on this model can be applied to the field of music therapy in the areas of improvement of communication, projective testing, and background influence for nonmusical activities. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

MARTHA ESTINA BANKS, "EMOTION AND MUSIC: A CORRELATION STUDY" (1980). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI8102303.