13 different ways in which music moves us: study
How often have you heard a song and felt chills going down your spine? Music has the power to lighten up anyone’s mood in next to no time. Music makes everything better. Time and again, scientists have established the fact that music triggers the release of serotonin and dopamine, the happy chemicals in the brain, thus cheering us up.
Now scientists have identified 13 specific emotions we feel in response to music: amusement, annoyance, anxiety or tension, a sense of beauty, relaxation or a feeling of calm and serenity, dreaminess, energised or pumped, desire, defiance, joy, sadness, fear, and triumph.
Psychologists from the University of California, Berkeley, US, and the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands published these findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on 6 January 2020.
With this study, the scientists also hoped to find the neurological basis of emotion. In the future, this understanding may help them find out how and why some psychiatric disorders occur.
Who was listening to this music?
Scientists have always been fascinated to know how music and visual content can influence our behaviour. In 2017, Dr Alan S. Cowen and Dr Dacher Keltner of the University of California, Berkley, conducted a study to map people's responses to evocative short videos with richly varying situational content - they identified 27 emotional responses to rich and situational video content.
In 2019, Dr Cowen along with scientists from the University of Amsterdam researched with 2,849 people to understand emotional responses to music from different cultures. This study, led by Dr Cowen, included 1,591 participants from the United States and 1,258 participants from China who were made to listen to 2,168 music excerpts.
Where did the music come from?
A large number of volunteers scanned thousands of YouTube videos, from movies and music albums. From those thousands, the scientists shortlisted a collection of audio clips which could be included in the study.
Next, the study participants were made to listen to the clips and were asked to rate the music based on 28 distinct categories of emotions. The participants were also asked to rate the songs on the scale of positivity and negativity and the levels of arousal.
Round 2: Another musical selection
The nearly 3,000 participants reported experiencing 13 different emotions in response to the first music selection. However, after the results came out, some of the scientists felt that the emotions may have been linked to previous experiences with the piece of music - they felt the participants might have heard the music in a movie or a YouTube video before the study.
So to ensure the certainty of these findings, the scientists asked 1,000 participants from the US and China to take part in a second experiment. These participants listened to over 300 additional Western and traditional Chinese music samples. After the experiment, the participants again categorised the emotions they felt while listening to the music pieces.
The results of the second trial confirmed the 13 categories of emotions which were categorized during the first experiment.
Interestingly, the scientists didn't just leave it there: they visualised the emotions in an interactive map of emotions ranging from amusement and annoyance to triumph and a sense of calm or joy!
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Updated Date: Jan 08, 2020 16:43:54 IST
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