Navigation Links
Emotions of Music Touch Universal Chord

No matter the culture, people recognize most basic feelings in unfamiliar tunes

THURSDAY, March 19 (HealthDay News) -- Michael Jackson may have been more prescient than he realized when he wrote the lyrics to the global "feel-good" song, We Are the World.

New research recognizes that people from vastly different cultures and heritages respond to the same happy, sad and scared emotions in unfamiliar music.

This suggests the universality of emotions in music and may help explain why Western music has been adopted so ubiquitously worldwide, said the authors, from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany.

"We know that our auditory system responds in distinctive ways to consonant and dissonant sounds, even when we're not actively listening to them," said Nina Kraus, Hugh Knowles professor of communication sciences, neurobiology, physiology and otolaryngology at Northwestern University in Chicago. "It's fascinating how our sensory systems have evolved to respond effectively to sounds that signal what's important, such as emotional meaning."

Kraus was not involved with the study, which is published in the March 19 online issue of Current Biology.

"There are fundamental acoustic features that communicate basic emotions similarly in both speech and music. Much of the meaning we get from music is not so much reliant on musical structure, but rather how it --the music -- is performed," said Dana Strait, a doctoral candidate in the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, also at Northwestern University. "It's the same with speech-- it's not the actual words spoken, but more how they're said that communicates emotion."

"The question of 'musical universals' has triggered intense debate in our field for years," she continued. "It intrigues us in part because of its implications for music being 'built in' to the human genome. These outcomes move us yet another step closer toward defining biological mechanisms driving the human music obsession."

Previous research has determined that babies as young as 5 months old can distinguish between upbeat and gloomy music, providing more evidence that the brain's ability to detect emotion develops early.

For this study, researchers trekked to the far reaches of mountainous northern Cameroon and asked members of the Mafa ethnic group to participate.

A group of Mafa listened with headphones to computer-generated piano music with different tempos, pitch range, rhythm, etc. The music was played on a sun-powered CD (the Mafa don't have electricity).

Meanwhile, a group of Westerners who had not before heard African music listened to a sequence of Mafa music.

Both groups were then asked to rate the music as pleasant or unpleasant.

Africans and Westerners alike recognized the same three emotions in the music: happy, sad, and scared or fearful. And both made their judgments based on timing of the music and on mode.

Mafa participants were more likely to think of faster pieces as happy and slower pieces as scared or fearful.

More information

Visit Northwestern University for information on neural encoding of music.

SOURCES: Nina Kraus, Ph.D., Hugh Knowles professor, communication sciences, neurobiology and physiology, otolaryngology, Northwestern University, Chicago; Dana Strait, doctoral candidate, Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, Northwestern University, Chicago; March 19, 2009, Current Biology, online

Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Musicians Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
2. University of Kansas research finds human emotions hold sway over physical health worldwide
3. Brain-injured patients can relearn emotions
4. Negative Emotions About Pain Increase Pro-Inflammatory Response
5. Music Therapy Helps Relieve Anxiety, Emotions of Cancer Diagnosis
6. A Happy Pet for the Holidays: Natural Remedies to Treat Animals Complex Emotions
7. New Jersey Author Uncovers the Secret to Well-Being Is the Connection Between Health and Emotions
8. Natural Remedies to Treat Animals Complex Emotions
9. Kids connect alcohol odors with moms emotions
10. The regulation of negative emotions: Impact on brain activity
11. When it comes to emotions, Eastern and Western cultures see things very differently: Study
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Emotions of Music Touch Universal Chord
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Global Healthcare ... scenic Alexandria Park in Milford, NJ. This free event, sponsored by Global Healthcare ... activity. The fun run is geared towards children of all ages; it is ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... , ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field”: the story ... the Philippines. “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field” is the creation ... has taught all ages and currently teaches a class of ladies at her church, ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Planet Fitness, one of the largest and fastest ... to open a flagship location in Covington, LA at 401 N. U.S. Highway 190, ... next to Office Depot in the Holiday Square shopping center. Its location allows it ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Asante, a nationally recognized health ... expanded their existing home health joint venture through an agreement, effective October 1, ... joint venture home health company with Asante, delivering clinically integrated care, for the ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Leading pediatric oncology experts at Children’s National ... 49th Congress of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) Oct. 12-15. ... for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s National, and Stephen P. Hunger, M.D., ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... , Oct. 11, 2017  Caris Life Sciences ... on fulfilling the promise of precision medicine, today announced ... joined Caris, Precision Oncology Alliance™ (POA) as its 17 ... centers, the St. Jude Crosson Cancer Institute will help ... the use of tumor profiling, making cancer treatment more ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... , Oct. 6, 2017   Provista, ... more than $100 billion in purchasing power, today announced ... and information. The Newsroom is the online ... industry trends, infographics, expert bios, news releases, slideshows and ... access to a wealth of resources at their fingertips, ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... -- Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: DPLO ) ... , and named its founder as Diplomat,s chief information ... Tennessee , will operate under Diplomat subsidiary Envoy ... for health care partners to include IT outsourcing, consulting, ... "In an interoperable world, technology delivers comprehensive insight and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: