Effects of music on physiological arousal: Explorations into tempo and genre

  • Dillman Carpentier F
  • Potter R
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Two experiments explore the validity of conceptualizing musical beats as auditory structural features and the potential for increases in tempo to lead to greater sympathetic arousal, measured using skin conductance. In the first experiment, fast- and slow-paced rock and classical music excerpts were compared to silence. As expected, skin conductance response (SCR) frequency was greater during music processing than during silence. Skin conductance level (SCL) data showed that fast-paced music elicits greater activation than slow-paced music. Genre significantly interacted with tempo in SCR frequency, with faster tempo increasing activation for classical music and decreasing it for rock music. A second experiment was conducted to explore the possibility that the presumed familiarity of the genre led to this interaction. Although further evidence was found for conceptualizing musical beat onsets as auditory structure, the familiarity explanation was not supported. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)

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  • Francesca R. Dillman Carpentier

  • Robert F. Potter

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