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Affective reactions to musical stimuli reflect emotional use of music in everyday life

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  • Suvi Saarikallio, Univ Jyvaskyla, University of Jyvaskyla, Dept Mus, Finnish Ctr Excellence Interdisciplinary Mus Res, Denmark
  • Sirke Nieminen, University of Helsinki, Denmark
  • Elvira Brattico

Music is a common means for regulating affective states in everyday life, but little is known about the individual differences in this behaviour. We investigated affective reactions to musical stimuli as an explanatory factor. Forty-four young adults rated self-selected music regarding perceived and felt emotions, preference, pleasantness and beauty. The ratings were reduced into five factors representing affective response tendencies. The participants also filled in the Music in Mood Regulation (MMR) questionnaire assessing seven music-related mood regulation strategies in everyday life. High beauty and pleasantness ratings for liked music correlated with the use of music for inducing strong emotional experiences, while ratings reflecting high agreement with the emotional content of preferred musical stimuli correlated with using music as a means for dealing with personal negative emotions. Regarding musical background, informal engagement through listening, but not formal musical training, correlated with increased use of music for mood regulation. The results clarify the link between the affective reactivity to music and the individual ways of using music as a tool for emotional self-regulation in everyday life.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMusicae Scientiae
Pages (from-to)27-39
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013

    Research areas

  • aesthetic responses, affective responses, emotion, mood regulation, music, SELF-REGULATION, RESPONSES, MOOD, QUESTIONNAIRE, STRATEGIES, EXCERPTS, STRESS, STYLES, BRAIN

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