Academic journal article Psychomusicology

A Systematic Review of the Studies Measuring Mood and Emotion in Response to Music

Academic journal article Psychomusicology

A Systematic Review of the Studies Measuring Mood and Emotion in Response to Music

Article excerpt

Definitional and conceptual problems are of continuing concern to researchers in the study of music and emotion (Eerola & Vuoskoski, 2013; Scherer, 2004). A prevailing issue is the conceptual difficulty of distinguishing between emotions and moods (Västfjäll, 2001/2002). In fact this is problematic in studies in other fields as well. Lane and Terry (2000), for example, state that in sports psychology literature, "it is rare....foraclear conceptualization of mood to be presented, especially one that distinguishes mood from related constructs such as emotion and affect" (p. 16). Researchers differ in their definitions, or fail to give any clear-cut definition at all. Indeed, the distinction can be somewhat blurred (Beedie, Terry, & Lane, 2005; Juslin & Sloboda, 2010). According to Västfjäll (2001/2002), in many studies, whether "it is mood or emotion that the music induces is determined by the empirical context rather than any stringent criterion" (p. 28).

What Criteria Can Be Used to Distinguish Mood and Emotion?

Beedie, Terry and Lane (2003) surveyed over 70 academic sources and report that no researchers seemed to be of the opinion that "emotion" and "mood" are the same construct, despite the fact that the terms are often used interchangeably. In a later study (2005), they compared numerous academic theories with how a nonacademic population distinguished between emotion and mood. Results demonstrated that there are certain aspects of the distinction that both academics and nonacademics agree upon.

The feature that seemed to be most strongly representative of the distinction in the majority of studies considered by Beedie et al. (2005), was the duration of the experience. Emotions were regarded as being of relatively short duration in comparison to moods, which are more long-term. The cause of the experience was also a prominent feature, with emotions generally being triggered by certain events, while moods seem to have less specific causes or to be the cumulative effect of several events. A related concept was that of timing, with emotions being viewed as having a more immediate onset in relation to the stimuli, rather than moods, which can build up gradually. Other noticeable elements were control, where emotions represent more instinctive reactions that are generally less controllable than moods; and, intensity, with moods described as "less intense" than emotions, although more persistent (see also Lang, 1988, p. 178).

Despite the differences, some argue that there is a "transactional relationship" between mood and emotion (Lane & Terry, 2000,p. 18). An individual's current mood can influence their emotional response to a stimulus, which in turn can contribute to the mood that may result from the emotional response. For example, people who are chronically depressed tend to have a higher threshold for the activation of positive emotion and to experience them in less intensity and shorter durations than happier people, while they have a low activation for the activation of negative affect. Disposition, in turn, influences a person's tendency to experience certain moods with frequency (Scherer, 2005).

Applying These Criteria to Studies in Music

Music researchers have adopted similar definitions to those discussed above. Juslin and Sloboda (2010) suggest that emotion be understood as a brief but intense affective reaction focused on specific "objects" and lasting a relatively short time, while mood be defined as "affective states that are lower in intensity than emotions, that do not have a clear 'object,' and that are much longer lasting than emotions" (p. 178).

Scherer's (2004, 2005), component process model of emotions has also been extensively used in music and emotion studies (Egermann, Kopiez, & Altenmüller, 2013; Grewe, Nagel, Kopiez, & Altenmüller, 2007a). According to this model, emotions consist of synchronized responses across several or all organic subsystems including physiological arousal, motor expression and subjective feelings, a cognitive element and action tendencies (Scherer, 2005). …

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