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<p>Two dominant approaches try to explain the connection between music and emotion: The emotivist position claims that music directly induces emotion in listeners, whereas the cognitivist position asserts that listeners can recognize the emotions, but do not actually feel them. In order to inform this debate, our research investigated emotion elicitation by music on the physiological, expressive and experiential level. Furthermore, the relation between these three levels was studied. Six participants listened to two musical pieces, designed to elicit negative and positive emotions (obtained from Vásquez-Rosati 2017), while electrodermal activity, heart rate variability and facial expression were measured. Before and after each musical piece participants filled out the Self-Assessment Manikin and after each stimulus micro-phenomenology-inspired interviews were conducted.</p> <p>It was found that both positive and negative stimuli do not necessarily cause the expected emotional responses, as seen from the experiential and physiological data. Moreover, participants frequently reported recognizing emotion in the music without experiencing it themselves. Therefore, neither the cognitivist nor the emotivist position could be supported, as both applied to varying degrees. During the interviews, participants reported multiple experiential aspects being induced by the music, including images and memories. Sometimes, these aspects led to certain emotions being experienced, rather than being directly induced by the music. This study highlights the multidimensionality of emotional experience, which cannot be simply described by categorical definitions or differentiation between valence and arousal.</p> <p>References:</p> <p>Vásquez-Rosati, A. (2017). “Body Awareness to Recognize Feelings,” <em>Constructivist Foundations</em>. 12 (2), 219-226.</p>
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