Research Design Connection: Emotional Responses to Music

Research by Cowen, Keltner, Fang and Sauter indicates that there are 13 consistent emotional responses to music; future research, indicating if these findings can be generalized to experiences beyond hearing music, will be useful. Researchers “surveyed more than 2,500 people in the United States and China about their emotional responses to…songs from genres including rock, folk, jazz, classical, marching band, experimental and heavy metal. The upshot? The subjective experience of music across cultures can be mapped within at least 13 overarching feelings: amusement, joy, eroticism, beauty, relaxation, sadness, dreaminess, triumph, anxiety, scariness, annoyance, defiance, and feeling pumped up.” Also, “While both U.S. and Chinese study participants identified similar emotions – such as feeling fear when hearing the ‘Jaws’ movie score – they differed on whether those emotions made them feel good or bad…Across cultures, study participants mostly agreed on general emotional characterizations of musical sounds, such as anger, joy and …