Scientists Identify 13 Emotions Triggered by Musicadmin
Music may actually be more of an international “language” than we previously realized. A new study from the University of California, Berkeley reveals “that music across two cultures can be ‘loosely mapped’ into at least 13 brackets: amusement, joy, eroticism, beauty, relaxation, sadness, dreaminess, triumph, anxiety, scariness, annoyance, defiance, and feeling pumped up,” IFLScience.com reports. Their findings were recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
UC scientists surveyed more than 2,500 people in the US and China about their emotional reactions to thousands of songs across a variety of genres, including rock, folk, jazz, classical, marching band, experimental and heavy metal. Using statistical analyses, they were able to identify the aforementioned “13 broad categories of experience that appeared to be preserved across cultures.”
“Imagine organizing a massively eclectic music library by emotion and capturing the combination of feelings associated with each track. That’s essentially what our study has done,” study lead author Alan Cowen, a UC Berkeley doctoral student in neuroscience, said in a statement.
“We have rigorously documented the largest array of emotions that are universally felt through the language of music,” study senior author Dacher Keltner, a UC Berkeley professor of psychology added.
While both the US and Chinese study participants identified similar emotions, they ultimately differed on whether those emotions were good or bad.
“People from different cultures can agree that a song is angry, but can differ on whether that feeling is positive or negative,” Cowen said.
“Music is a universal language, but we don’t always pay enough attention to what it’s saying and how it’s being understood,” he continued. “We wanted to take an important first step toward solving the mystery of how music can evoke so many nuanced emotions.”
Check out an interactive audio map of the data here.