In my PhD project I am trying to shed some light on one of the probably most frequently asked questions in music psychology, namely whether music can induce emotion, and if so, whether these emotions are equivalent to utilitarian and basic emotions we experience in everyday life, or if they are rather aesthetic and epistemic emotions, as for example Scherer and Coutinho (2013) suggest.While in the context of perceived emotions in music the application of one or another form of self-report can be discussed to be an efficient way to gather judgements about the overall expressed emotion in the music, this doctoral project focuses on introducing an approach for studying music-induced emotion that takes the dynamic and temporal nature of both music and emotion into account. By applying a multi-method approach using physiological measurements (skin conductance, heart rate, blood volume pulse), automated face analysis, and continuous as well as retrospective self-report, a better understanding of emotions experienced in response to music and their characteristics can be achieved. This approach will help to explain whether and to what extent basic emotions and aesthetic emotions are experienced in response to music, and further, how these subjective experiences relate to embodied components such as changes in physiology and motor expression.
If these facial motor expressions can be used to successfully predict subjectively experienced emotions in response to music, this approach could potentially not only be used to study emotions in music without relying on self-report, which could be subject to demand characteristics and researcher bias but could also facilitate studying experienced emotion in groups or individuals that are not able to verbally express their subjective experiences.
Project run time: 2017-2020