Goldsmiths - University of London

Music and movement share a dynamic structure that supports universal expressions of emotion

Sievers, Beau; Polansky, Larry; Casey, Michael A. and Wheatley, Thalia. 2013. Music and movement share a dynamic structure that supports universal expressions of emotion. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(1), pp. 70-75. ISSN 1091-6490 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Music moves us. Its kinetic power is the foundation of human behaviors as diverse as dance, romance, lullabies, and the military march. Despite its significance, the music-movement relationship is poorly understood. We present an empirical method for testing whether music and movement share a common structure that affords equivalent and universal emotional expressions. Our method uses a computer program that can generate matching examples of music and movement from a single set of features: rate, jitter (regularity of rate), direction, step size, and dissonance/visual spikiness. We applied our method in two experiments, one in the United States and another in an isolated tribal village in Cambodia. These experiments revealed three things: (i) each emotion was represented by a unique combination of features, (ii) each combination expressed the same emotion in both music and movement, and (iii) this common structure between music and movement was evident within and across cultures.

Item Type: Article

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Research Office > REF2014


2 January 2013Published

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Date Deposited:

18 Oct 2013 12:32

Last Modified:

20 Jun 2017 09:42

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI: http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/9173
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