Given evidence from other domains that peripheral feedback can influence emotional experience, two experiments are reported that investigate the role of physiological arousal in determining the intensity and valence of emotion experienced when listening to music. In the first experiment, two groups of participants, with different levels of induced physiological arousal, rated four excerpts of music on 10 emotion scales in terms of the emotion they felt while listening to the music and the emotion they thought the music was intended to express. Participants who had exercised immediately before making the emotion judgments reported more intense experiences of emotion felt while listening to the music than did participants who had relaxed. Arousal manipulation had no effect on ratings of the emotion thought to be expressed by the music. These results suggest that arousal influences the intensity of emotion experienced with music and therefore that people use their body state as information about the emotion felt while listening to music. A second experiment investigated this effect in more detail. Independent groups were used to test three different types of induced arousal, with separate groups for ratings of emotion felt and emotion expressed by the music. Participants who had exercised reported intensified experience of positive emotions, in response to pieces that were positive in valence, than did a control group. The article concludes that body state can influence emotional experience with music and presents this as evidence for the role of personal and situational factors in the emotional experience of music.

This content is only available via PDF.