Based on natural spectra, 7 different complex sounds were synthesized digitally, each in a long version (3 s in duration) and in a short version (0.5 s in duration) for a total of 14 sounds. These stimuli were presented to 34 subjects who rated each sound on each of 12 seven-point verbal scales. A rating was defined as an emotional response. Based on previous work, mutually exclusive subsets of the emotional responses to four scales were assigned to each of three verbal dimensions or factors, the Factors were: I, Tension–Relaxation; II, Lightheartedness–Gloom; and III, Attraction–Repulsion. By means of analysis-of-variance methods it was found that the sounds evoked divergent emotional responses with respect to all three factors and that the emotional responses to shortduration sounds were similar to those to long-duration sounds. Only for Factor II was there a significant interaction, in that two of the short sounds were rated more lighthearted than the two corresponding long sounds. Otherwise it appears that emotional responses to the short sounds did not differ from those to their corresponding long sounds, as measured by mean ratings. Because the responses to given short versions or long versions of the complex sounds were essentially the same, it may be concluded that the short versions contain considerable information, and the two versions are therefore substitutable for each other as experimental stimuli. Another implication is that even very brief complex sounds can elicit emotional ratings of the kind defined here.


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