Feelings and perceptions of happiness and sadness induced by music: Similarities, differences, and mixed emotions

Patrick G. Hunter, E. Glenn Schellenberg, Ulrich Schimmack
2010 Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts  
The authors examined similarities and differences between (1) listeners' perceptions of emotions conveyed by 30-s pieces of music and (2) their emotional responses to the same pieces. Using identical scales, listeners rated how happy and how sad the music made them feel, and the happiness and the sadness expressed by the music. The music was manipulated to vary in tempo (fast or slow) and mode (major or minor). Feeling and perception ratings were highly correlated but perception ratings were
more » ... ion ratings were higher than feeling ratings, particularly for music with consistent cues to happiness (fast-major) or sadness (slow-minor), and for sad-sounding music in general. Associations between the music manipulations and listeners' feelings were mediated by their perceptions of the emotions conveyed by the music. Happiness ratings were elevated for fast-tempo and major-key stimuli, sadness ratings were elevated for slow-tempo and minor-key stimuli, and mixed emotional responses (higher happiness and sadness ratings) were elevated for music with mixed cues to happiness and sadness (fast-minor or slow-major). Listeners also exhibited ambivalence toward sad-sounding music.
doi:10.1037/a0016873 fatcat:djystfvf2ncdlkfv6yvubvj6ji