Acoustic Intensity Causes Perceived Changes in Arousal Levels in Music: An Experimental Investigation

University of Regensburg, Germany
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.53). 04/2011; 6(4):e18591. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018591
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Listener perceptions of changes in the arousal expressed by classical music have been found to correlate with changes in sound intensity/loudness over time. This study manipulated the intensity profiles of different pieces of music in order to test the causal nature of this relationship. Listeners (N = 38) continuously rated their perceptions of the arousal expressed by each piece. An extract from Dvorak's Slavonic Dance Opus 46 No 1 was used to create a variant in which the direction of change in intensity was inverted, while other features were retained. Even though it was only intensity that was inverted, perceived arousal was also inverted. The original intensity profile was also superimposed on three new pieces of music. The time variation in the perceived arousal of all pieces was similar to their intensity profile. Time series analyses revealed that intensity variation was a major influence on the arousal perception in all pieces, in spite of their stylistic diversity.

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Available from: Freya Bailes, Aug 13, 2015
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    • "In auditory perception research, continuous responses have been used to investigate relationships between acoustic properties such as intensity, spectral fl atness (a global parameter of timbre), the perception of affect (e.g., emotional arousal and valence/pleasantness), and loudness. Such studies have been undertaken in contexts ranging from traffi c noise [39] to music from classical [40] [41] [42] and electroacoustic [43] [44] genres. Only a handful of experiments, however, have systematically manipulated increases and decreases of acoustic intensity when measuring loudness continuously. "
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    ABSTRACT: In real-world listening domains such as speech and music, acoustic intensity and perceived loudness are dynamic and continuously changing through time. The percept of loudness change in response to continuous increases (up-ramps) and decreases (down-ramps) of intensity has received ongoing empirical and theoretical interest, the result of which has led to conflicting findings from a range of key paradigms. Therefore, the aim of this brief review is to: (a) describe key paradigms used to measure changes in loudness in response to continuous intensity change; (b) identify methodological issues associated with each paradigm; and (c) discuss the mechanisms proposed to explain differences in loudness change when methodological constraints and response biases are controlled. It is concluded that direct and indirect measures of loudness change reflect two distinct aspects of auditory perception. Specifically, magnitude estimation and continuous loudness paradigms reflect changes in perception associated with a ramp’s direction and magnitude of intensity change, and empirical evidence supports the conclusion that greater loudness change in response to down-ramps relative to up-ramps is the real-time perceptual outcome. On the other hand, retrospective global judgements of loudness change are disproportionally weighted on end-level intensity rather than magnitude of intensity change. However, an up-ramp-specific effect of duration on global loudness change is evident when end-level response bias is controlled, and this may be associated with end-point time-of-arrival responses to real and apparent looming auditory motion.
    Acoustics Australia / Australian Acoustical Society 12/2014; 42. · 0.36 Impact Factor
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    • "Abbreviations: ACC, anterior cingulate cortex; BOLD, blood-oxygenlevel dependent; EEG, electroencephalogram; SPL, sound pressure level; TANCOVA, topographic analysis of covariance; TANOVA, topographic analysis of variance. Neuroscience 268 (2014) 102–111 to make connections with psychoacoustic parameters such as sound intensity (Dean et al., 2011; Mikutta et al., 2013) and timbre (Frego, 1999). Additional factors include tempo (Nyklicek et al., 1997; Frego, 1999), rhythm (Bernardi et al., 2006; Mikutta et al., 2013), and expectation (Koelsch et al., 2002, 2007, 2008; Maidhof et al., 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Experience-based adaptation of emotional responses is an important faculty for cognitive and emotional functioning. Professional musicians represent an ideal model in which to elicit experience-driven changes in the emotional processing domain. The changes of the central representation of emotional arousal due to musical expertise are still largely unknown. The aim of the present study was to investigate the electroencephalogram (EEG) correlates of experience-driven changes in the domain of emotional arousal. Therefore, the differences in perceived (subjective arousal via ratings) and physiologically measured (EEG) arousal between amateur and professional musicians were examined. A total of 15 professional and 19 amateur musicians listened to the first movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's 5th symphony (duration=∼7.4 min), during which a continuous 76-channel EEG was recorded. In a second session, the participants evaluated their emotional arousal during the listening. In a tonic analysis, we examined the average EEG data over the time course of the music piece. For a phasic analysis, a fast Fourier transform was performed and covariance maps of spectral power were computed in association with the subjective arousal ratings. The subjective arousal ratings of the professional musicians were more consistent than those of the amateur musicians. In the tonic EEG analysis, a mid-frontal theta activity was observed in the professionals. In the phasic EEG, the professionals exhibited an increase of posterior alpha, central delta, and beta rhythm during high arousal. Professionals exhibited different and/or more intense patterns of emotional activation when they listened to the music. The results of the present study underscore the impact of music experience on emotional reactions.
    Neuroscience 03/2014; 268. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2014.03.007 · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pearce (2011) provides a positive and interesting response to our article on time series analysis of the influences of acoustic properties on real-time perception of structure and affect in a section of Trevor Wishart's Red Bird (Dean & Bailes, 2010). We address the following topics raised in the response and our paper. First, we analyse in depth the possible influence of spectral centroid, a timbral feature of the acoustic stream distinct from the high level general parameter we used initially, spectral flatness. We find that spectral centroid, like spectral flatness, is not a powerful predictor of real-time responses, though it does show some features that encourage its continued consideration. Second, we discuss further the issue of studying both individual responses, and as in our paper, group averaged responses. We show that a multivariate Vector Autoregression model handles the grand average series quite similarly to those of individual members of our participant groups, and we analyse this in greater detail with a wide range of approaches in work which is in press and continuing. Lastly, we discuss the nature and intent of computational modelling of cognition using acoustic and music-or information theoretic data streams as predictors, and how the music-or information theoretic approaches may be applied to electroacoustic music, which is 'sound-based' rather than note-centred like Western classical music. of cognition; electroacoustic music. PEARCE (2011) supports our focus on studying real-time responses to music, and appreciates our introducing the methods of time series analysis (which have been rarely used in music studies) and using computer-mediated electroacoustic music as part of this analysis. Indeed, in our ongoing work, we make a point of contrasting and comparing responses to the 'sound-centered' electroacoustic musics, as for example Landy (2009) characterizes them, with those to 'note-centered' music, such as piano music from the Western classical music tradition. Our work allows demonstration not only of the predictive capacity of acoustic information streams for perception of musical structure and affect, but also of interactions between individual perceptual/cognitive responses, and their autoregressive properties. In this article, we respond to three main topics raised by Pearce's comments and by our work to date: the possible influence of the acoustic parameter spectral centroid on perceptions of musical structure and affect; the comparison between group average perceptual responses and individual responses; and finally the nature of computational cognitive modelling and possibilities for developing information theoretic aspects of it in relation to electroacoustic music.
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