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Music perception

Sunday, October 02nd,   2011 [18:00 - 20:00]

PS_3.073 - Musical expertise and age modulate how we recognize emotions in music

Castro, S. L. & Lima, C.

Faculty of Psychology and Education at the University of Porto, Portugal

Listening to music is like going through a landscape that offers multiple views. How are the views on emotions shaped by two experiential factors, musical expertise proper and age? Forty musicians and forty musically naive persons, in each group half young adults (18-30 years) and half middle-aged adults (40-60 years), listened to music excerpts validated to express happiness, sadness, peacefulness and fear. They rated how much each excerpt expressed these four emotions on 10-point intensity scales. Intended emotions were consistently perceived as more intense than the non-intended ones, but the pattern of judgements differed according to age and musical expertise. Middle age was associated with decreased responsiveness to sadness and fear, whereas responsiveness to happiness and peacefulness remained invariant since young adulthood. Years of musical training correlated with enhanced sensitivity to the intended emotions. Middle-aged musicians, but not younger ones, were more accurate than musically naive listeners. These effects were independent of domain-general cognitive abilities and personality traits. Mechanisms supporting emotion recognition in music are robust, but also variable: they are shaped by age and musical expertise.

PS_3.074 - Musical stimuli causes spatial shifts of attention

Alonso Cánovas, D. 1 , Molina, I. 1 , F. Estévez, &. 1 , Martínez, L. 1 & J. Fuentes, L. 2

1 Universidad de Almería. Almería. Spain
2 Universidad de Murcia. Murcia. Spain

Previous evidence suggests that tones are mentally represented as a spatial line in the vertical dimension. This study evaluated whether pre-exposure to a particular melodic contour or a single tone (experiments 1 and 2) reduces the latency to detect a visual stimulus in a screen. Additionally we tested if musicians and non-musicians exhibit the same profile. We included two experimental conditions: 1) compatible condition, where the auditive stimulus, ascending/high or descending/low contour/pitch, were followed by a visual stimulus located up/down respectively, in the screen; 2) non-compatible condition, where the visual stimulus was located bottom/up, respectively. The results showed a reduced latency in the compatible vs non-compatible condition when the auditive stimulus was a contour, but only in musicians when the auditive stimulus was a single pitch. Present data suggest that listening a contour caused a shift in cover attention in the vertical plane related to the particular contour direction. We conclude that a spatially oriented ‘mental musical line’ is automatically activated whenever we listen a melodic contour; musicians extend this activation in response to a tone pitch

PS_3.075 - Does musicians’ interpretation influence music perceptual grouping?

Giorgio, M. 1 , Olivetti Belardinelli, M. 1, 2 & Imberty, M. 3

1 Department of Psychology, “Sapienza” University of Rome
2 ECoNA - Interuniversity Centre for Research on Cognitive Processing in Natural and Artificial Systems, “Sapienza” University of Rome
3 Université de Paris-Ouest-Nanterre La Défense

In inquiring musical grouping the focus has been posed, time by time, on different features of the musical surface, making extensive use of ad hoc created stimuli often far from real music. An ecological approach was developed by Irène Deliège (1990) in her study on the segmentation of Berio’s Sequenza VI. Since the detection of musical meaning is highly influenced by the differences in performance, we investigated the role of the instrumentalist’s interpretation on the perceived segmentation. At the scope we used two versions of Sequenza VI performed respectively by Desjardins (1998) and Knox (2006). These variants are different in duration (12.13min. vs 13.14min.) and show differences in dynamics, accents distribution and gaps duration. Thirty subjects were invited to attentively listen to each piece, to understand its plan and to mark off the sections of the work pushing a computer key. The order of presentation of the two performances was balanced. We hypothesize that musical structure affects grouping more than performance. Results show a good number of coinciding segmentations in the two versions but a different number and location of segmentations in the central part of the piece. These differences are discussed with regard to Deliègeʼs Cue Abstraction Hypothesis.

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