Department of Psychology

Projects

Table of contents:

Selected projects

The Mirror to Our Soul: Comparisons of Spontaneous and Posed Vocal Expressions of Emotion

It is commonly believed by lay people that nonverbal cues in the voice may reveal our inner emotions to a listener. But does the voice convey specific emotions in real life? Or is it only when actors portray emotions in a stereotypical manner that each emotion is given a distinct voice profile? The goal of this project is to investigate similarities and differences between spontaneous and posed vocal expressions in order to resolve the issue of whether spontaneous vocal expressions can convey discrete emotions. This will achieved by means of a representative sampling of vocal expressions in real-life settings. Thus, the project involves a combination of field studies and experiments, including field recordings, listening tests, acoustic analyses, and computer simulations.

Members of the project: Patrik Juslin (director), Petri Laukka, and Tanja Banziger

  • Funded by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation (on-going)

Paradigms for Selective Activation of Mechanisms Underlying Emotional Reactions to Music (MECWORK)

Music arouses strong emotions in listeners, but the precise nature of this process is still little investigated. However, preliminary studies suggest that a range of psychological mechanisms are involved. This project aims to develop a new set of experimental paradigms that can selectively activate specific mechanisms in order to arouse emotions in listeners. These paradigms will be used to test a novel theoretical framework (BRECVEMA) with regard to the unique features of each mechanism. The paradigms will also be made available for other music researchers. Emotions are studied in a multiple-method approach featuring self-reports, facial expressions, psychophysiological responses, and indirect measures. The project has important implications for both basic research and various applications of music.

Members of the project: Patrik Juslin (director), Simon Liljeström, Goncalo Barradas, Laura Sakka, Erik Lindström, Daniel Västfjäll, and Lars-Olov Lundqvist

  • Funded by the Swedish Research Council (on-going)

Appraisal in Music and Emotion (AMUSE)

The most crucial problem in the field of music psychology is to describe and explain people's responses to music. Yet, research on music and emotion has been neglected. The goal of this project is to construct a model that combines different psychological mechanisms in order to explain and predict listeners' reactions to music. The model is developed and tested by means of an interplay between field studies that capture experiences of music as they spontaneously occur in everyday life and laboratory studies that test theoretical predictions experimentally. The project relies on modern methods (e.g., diary studies featuring ambulatory measurement of physiological responses, synthesized music performances) as well as multiple measures of emotion (e.g., self-report, facial expression, physiology, voice changes, behavioral measures) to capture the often elusive reactions to music. The project offers unique insights concerning how music listeners' emotional reactions are influenced by numerous factors in the music, the listener, and the situation, and the new model may serve to guide future research in the field. The project also has important implications for applications such as music therapy.

Members of the project: Patrik Juslin (director), Daniel Västfjäll, Lars-Olov Lundqvist, Petri Laukka, and Simon Liljeström

  • Funded by the Swedish Research Council (on-going)

Feedback-Learning of Musical Expressivity (FEEL-ME)

Communication of emotions is of crucial importance to the performance of music. Still, recent research has indicated that expressive skills are neglected in music education. Furthermore, traditional strategies for teaching expressivity rarely provide informative feedback to the performer. The aim of this project is to (a) define the nature of musical expressivity, and (b) develop novel methods for teaching expressivity based on recent advances in musical science, psychology, technology, and music acoustics. A new and empirically based approach to learning expressivity called Cognitive Feedback will be developed and implemented in user-friendly software that is evaluated in collaboration with music conservatories. The project involves an interdisciplinary collaboration among psychologists, technicians, music teachers, and musicians.

Members of the project: Patrik Juslin (director), Anders Friberg, Erik Lindström, Roberto Bresin, Jessika Karlsson, and Erwin Schoonderwaldt

  • Funded by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation (finished)

Music for Health and Subjective Well-Being

The aim of this project is to investigate the psychological and neurobiological mechanisms through which music may influence physical health and subjective well-being. The project involves a multi-disciplinary approach, in which effects of music on emotions, stress, and physical health are measured at different levels (self-reported experience, psychophysical measures, brain imaging, hormones) in both field studies and laboratory studies. By focusing on underlying mechanisms, the project can provide a scientific basis for individualized interventions that enhance health through music listening. The project is a collaboration between Göteborg and Uppsala.

Members of the project: Daniel Västfjäll (director), Patrik Juslin (co-director), Terry Hartig, Mats Fredrikson, and Kerstin Uvnäs Moberg

  • Funded by the Swedish Research Council (finished)

Uses of Music and Psychological Well-Being among the Elderly

This project aims to investigate elderly persons' everyday uses of music, and the relations between music-related activities and psychological well-being. One way in which music can increase well-being is by inducing positive affect. Many studies have shown that young persons often deliberately use music as a means to regulate their emotions (e.g., they use music for mood enhancement, expression of emotions, or relaxation), but there is currently a lack of knowledge with regard to elderly persons. A specially designed questionnaire, based on earlier studies on music and emotion, will be distributed to healthy elderly persons (age > 65 years). The questionnaire aims to answer questions like what emotions are most commonly felt in connection with music listening, and in what music-related situations they do occur. Correlations between music-related activities and psychological well-being will be especially studied. Further, in order to test theories about how music can induce emotions, an experimental study on elderly persons' ability to identify emotional expressions in music and speech will be conducted. The project will lead to new knowledge about how elderly persons may use music in order to enhance their psychological well-being. Such knowledge is important for the planning of the environment in geriatric care and housing.

Members of the project: Petri Laukka (director)

  • Funded by the Stockholm County Council (finished)

Musical Pulse in Human Timing and Coordination

Humans have the ability to mutually synchronize their behavior with great temporal precision, for example in ensemble music. This ability avails itself of the shared temporal structure created by the so called beat or “tactus”. The even subdivision of time into isochronous intervals makes the next beat in the sequence predictable, which enables us to coordinate group activities in music, dance and drill. We still do not know, however, just how the human mind detects the pulse in the complex temporal patterns in which it is often embedded in rhythmic music, nor how we manage those deviations from isochrony which deliberately as well as inadvertently occur in all humanly produced music. That is, how do we use the rich but “faulty” information of rhythmic sequences to synchronize as well as we do? The questions bear on fundamental issues of timing mechanisms in the human brain, and in order to better understand these we are studying people's abilities in three different situations: how they synchronize to sequences containing random deviations from isochrony, how they detect tempo differences between two such sequences, and how two to four persons synchronize with one another. In this way we are trying to shed light not only on a central phenomenon in one of the outstanding products of human culture, namely music, but also on issues of human timing more generally.

Members of the project: Guy Madison (project director) and Björn Merker

  • Funded by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation (finished)

Strong Experiences with Music (SEM)

The aim of this project is to describe the contents of strong experiences of music and to explore the conditions - in the music, the individual, and the situation - for the appearance of such experiences. A large number of people have been asked to describe the strongest experience of music that they ever had and to answer various questions in relation to that, further to indicate their agreement with a large set of statements concerning strong experiences of music. The material is subjected to content analysis and analysis by multivariate statistics. The researchers are Alf Gabrielsson and Siv Lindström Wik. Several students have conducted special studies within the project as part of their examination in psychology courses. The project is now in its final stage.

Members of the project: Alf Gabrielsson (director) and Siv Lindström Wik

  • Funded by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation and the Royal Academy of Music (finished)

Expressive Performance in Music, Speech, Dance, and Body Language

The purpose of this research project is to investigate expressive performance in music, dance, speech, and body language; to compare these performances with regard to their similarities and differences; and to relate them to the performer's expressive intention and the listener's or viewer's impression. Furthermore, the project aims at identifying factors that tend to favor or inhibit expressive performance, and to discuss the implications of these results for education and training in the performing arts.

Members of the project: Alf Gabrielsson (director), Patrik Juslin, Guy Madison, Maria Sandgren, Gertrud Ericson, Erik Lindström, Ingrid Lagerlöf, Marie Djerf, and Petri Laukka

  • Funded by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation (finished)

Multisensory Expressive Gesture Applications (MEGA)

The purpose of this research project is to investigate expressive performance in music, dance, speech, and body language; to compare these performances with regard to their similarities and differences; and to relate them to the performer's expressive intention and the listener's or viewer's impression. Furthermore, the project aims at identifying factors that tend to favor or inhibit expressive performance, and to discuss the implications of these results for education and training in the performing arts.

Project coordinator: Antonio Camurri, University of Genova

Members of the Uppsala group involved in the project: Alf Gabrielsson, Patrik Juslin, Erik Lindström, Ingrid Lagerlöf, and Marie Djerf

  • Funded by the European Union (finished)