Bodily maps of musical sensations across cultures
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Description: Data and code for Putkinen et al., 2023 Bodily sensations and movement are integral parts of musical experiences. Yet, it remains unknown i) whether emotional connotations and structural features of music elicit discrete bodily sensations and ii) whether these sensations are culturally consistent. We addressed these questions by presenting Western (European and North American, n = 589) and East Asian (Chinese, n = 517) participants with silhouettes of human bodies and asked them to indicate the bodily regions whose activity they felt changing while listening to Western and Asian musical pieces with varying emotional and acoustic qualities. The resulting bodily sensation maps (BSMs) varied as a function of the affective qualities of the songs, particularly in the limb, chest, and head regions. Music-induced emotions and corresponding BSMs were robustly replicable across both Western and East Asian subjects. The BSMs clustered similarly across cultures, and cluster structures were similar for BSMs and self-reports of emotional experience. The acoustic and structural features of music were consistently associated with the emotion ratings and music-induced bodily sensations across cultures. These results highlight the importance of subjective bodily experience in music-induced emotions and demonstrate consistent associations between musical features, music-induced emotions, and bodily sensations across distant cultures.