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Emotion perception in music: Are we all equally tuned in?

Davis, H. and Teo, J.E. (2005) Emotion perception in music: Are we all equally tuned in? In: XV Australian Society for Music Education's (ASME) National Conference (2005), 3-7 July 2005, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia pp. 69-78.

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This study investigates the relationship between individuals’ sensitivity to emotional cues in music, technical musical aptitude and general cognitive ability. Thirty-nine university undergraduates completed two emotional discrimination tasks (one involving live performers and the other computer-generated music), musical aptitude measures of pitch, rhythm and tune discrimination, and a test of fluid intelligence. Results indicated a high mean level of accuracy in emotion perception, but also some individual differences. Emotion perception was somewhat related to musical discrimination measures, and rhythm discrimination was related to intelligence, but emotion perception showed no association with intelligence. These findings are consistent with basic emotion perception in music being a ‘modular’ ability – one at which humans universally excel, regardless of their other strengths and weaknesses. However, the findings also suggest that high levels of refinement in emotion perception may be underpinned by ability to discriminate between musical sounds.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology
Publisher: Australian Society for Music Education
Copyright: The Authors
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