In a recent article, Bonin, Trainor, Belyk, and Andrews (2016) proposed a novel way in which basic processes of auditory perception may influence affective responses to music. According to their source dilemma hypothesis (SDH), the relative fluency of a particular aspect of musical processing—the parsing of the music into distinct audio streams—is hedonically marked: Efficient stream segregation elicits pleasant affective experience whereas inefficient segregation results in unpleasant affective experience, thereby contributing to (dis)preference for a musical stimulus. Bonin et al. (2016) conducted two experiments, the results of which were ostensibly consistent with the SDH. However, their research designs introduced major confounds that undermined the ability of these initial studies to offer unequivocal evidence for their hypothesis. To address this, we conducted a large-scale (N = 311) constructive replication of Bonin et al. (2016; Experiment 2), significantly modifying the design to rectify these methodological shortfalls and thereby better assess the validity of the SDH. Results successfully replicated those of Bonin et al. (2016), although they indicated that source dilemma effects on music preference may be more modest than their original findings would suggest. Unresolved issues and directions for future investigation of the SDH are discussed.
A Reinvestigation of the Source Dilemma Hypothesis
We are grateful to Carly Feldstein, Anthony Leva, and Ryley Scott for their assistance in running these experiments.
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Douglas A. Kowalewski, Ronald S. Friedman, Stan Zavoyskiy, W. Trammell Neill; A Reinvestigation of the Source Dilemma Hypothesis. Music Perception 1 June 2019; 36 (5): 448–456. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/mp.2019.36.5.448
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