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. 2019 Aug 27;10:1955.
doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01955. eCollection 2019.

The Musical Emotion Discrimination Task: A New Measure for Assessing the Ability to Discriminate Emotions in Music

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Free PMC article

The Musical Emotion Discrimination Task: A New Measure for Assessing the Ability to Discriminate Emotions in Music

Chloe MacGregor et al. Front Psychol. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Previous research has shown that levels of musical training and emotional engagement with music are associated with an individual's ability to decode the intended emotional expression from a music performance. The present study aimed to assess traits and abilities that might influence emotion recognition, and to create a new test of emotion discrimination ability. The first experiment investigated musical features that influenced the difficulty of the stimulus items (length, type of melody, instrument, target-/comparison emotion) to inform the creation of a short test of emotion discrimination. The second experiment assessed the contribution of individual differences measures of emotional and musical abilities as well as psychoacoustic abilities. Finally, the third experiment established the validity of the new test against other measures currently used to assess similar abilities. Performance on the Musical Emotion Discrimination Task (MEDT) was significantly associated with high levels of self-reported emotional engagement with music as well as with performance on a facial emotion recognition task. Results are discussed in the context of a process model for emotion discrimination in music and psychometric properties of the MEDT are provided. The MEDT is freely available for research use.

Keywords: emotion perception; emotional intelligence; music perception; music performance; musical training.

Figures

FIGURE 1
FIGURE 1
A diagram to illustrate the cognitive model proposed to underlie emotion recognition in music as relevant to the testing paradigm of the MEDT. The rectangles reflect covert processes that cannot easily be directly measured or controlled, while the parallelograms represent processes that can be manipulated and studied.
FIGURE 2
FIGURE 2
A diagram displaying the contribution of individual differences (in circles) at different stages of a cognitive model proposed to underlie emotion recognition in music. The diamond shapes highlighted in purple represent cognitive mechanisms thought to underlie the operation of particular processes.
FIGURE 3
FIGURE 3
Notation of melody B (1).
FIGURE 4
FIGURE 4
Notation of melody C (2).
FIGURE 5
FIGURE 5
An illustrative model of musical emotion decoding informed by the results of the current study.

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