The aim of this study was to comprehensively understand the role of listener attributes in the induction of musical emotions. Specifically, we investigated the relative influence of musical expertise, objectively assessed musical aptitude, the Big Five personality traits, and positive and negative mood on musical emotion induction.
A total of 113 participants, consisting of 45% musicians and 55% nonmusicians, were included in the study. Participants provided ratings of felt emotion in response to 12 excerpts of Western classical music, selected to evoke different types of emotions. The ratings were obtained using the Geneva Emotion Music Scale (GEMS)-25, a domain-specific scale for assessing music-evoked emotion. The data were analyzed with MANOVAS and multiple regresions based on the intensity and granularity of the emotions.
The findings of the study suggest that expertise played a significant role in musical emotion induction. The effects of mood and personality traits varied depending on the type of outcome, such as the type of experienced emotion and the type of emotional responding (intensity vs. granularity), as well as the presence of other listener factors. Overall, listener features accounted for approximately 30% of the variance in musically evoked emotions.
The results of this study have implications not only for the understanding of musical emotion induction but also for applications that involve personalized musical listening.
Gerstgrasser, S., Vigl, J., & Zentner, M. (2023). The role of listener features in musical emotion induction: The contributions of musical expertise, personality dispositions, and mood state. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 17(2), 211-224. https://doi.org/10.1037/aca0000468