Individual Differences in Music-Perceived Emotions: The Influence of Externally Oriented Thinking

Taruffi, Liila; Allen, Rory; Downing, John and Heaton, Pam F.. 2017. Individual Differences in Music-Perceived Emotions: The Influence of Externally Oriented Thinking. Music Perception, 34(3), pp. 253-266. ISSN 0730-7829 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Previous music and emotion research suggests that individual differences in empathy, alexithymia, personality traits, and musical expertise might play a role in music-perceived emotions. In this study, we investigated the relationship between these individual characteristics and the ability of participants to recognize five basic emotions (happiness, sadness, tenderness, fear, and anger) conveyed by validated excerpts of film music. One hundred and twenty participants were recruited through an online platform and completed an emotion recognition task as well as the IRI (Interpersonal Reactivity Index), TAS-20 (Toronto Alexithymia Scale), BFI (Big Five Inventory), and Gold-MSI (Goldsmiths Musical Sophistication Index). While participants recognized the emotions depicted by the music at levels that were better than chance, their performance accuracy was negatively associated with the externally oriented thinking subscale from the TAS-20. Our results suggest that alexithymia, previously linked to a deficit in perception of facial and vocal expressions of emotion, is also associated with difficulties in perception of emotions conveyed by music.

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Publisher full text is used with permission.


music-perceived emotions, alexithymia, empathy, personality traits

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1 February 2017Published
26 January 2017Published Online
9 April 2016Accepted

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10 Feb 2017 15:35

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29 Apr 2020 16:24

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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