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The effect of musical experience on emotional self-reports and psychophysiological responses to dissonance

Authors

  • Delphine Dellacherie,

    1. Laboratoire de Neurosciences Fonctionnelles et Pathologies, CNRS-UMR 8160, University of Lille-Nord de France, Lille, France
    2. Epilepsy Unit, La Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, France
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  • Mathieu Roy,

    1. BRAMS Laboratory, University of Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
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  • Laurent Hugueville,

    1. Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6, Centre de Recherche de l'Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Epinière, UMR-S975, Paris, France
    2. Inserm, U975, Paris, France
    3. CNRS, UMR 7225, Paris, France
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  • Isabelle Peretz,

    1. BRAMS Laboratory, University of Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
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  • Séverine Samson

    1. Laboratoire de Neurosciences Fonctionnelles et Pathologies, CNRS-UMR 8160, University of Lille-Nord de France, Lille, France
    2. Epilepsy Unit, La Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, France
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  • The authors are grateful to Laurence Conty, Daniela Sammler, Séverine Farley, and Sean Hutchins for their helpful assistance and comments on previous versions of the manuscript. This study was supported by a PhD scholarship from the Regional Council of Nord-Pas de Calais to Delphine Dellacherie and by a grant from “Agence Nationale pour la Recherche” of the French Ministry of Research (project no. NT05-3-45987) to Séverine Samson and from Eisai Inc. Isabelle Peretz is supported by grants from the Canada Research Chair in Neurocognition of Music and Mathieu Roy by a Canadian fellowship from NSERC.

Address correspondence to: Séverine Samson, Department of Psychology, Université de Lille 3, BP 60 149, 59653 Villeneuve d'Ascq Cedex, France. E-mail: severine.samson@univ-lille3.fr

Abstract

To study the influence of musical education on emotional reactions to dissonance, we examined self-reports and physiological responses to dissonant and consonant musical excerpts in listeners with low (LE: n=15) and high (HE: n=13) musical experience. The results show that dissonance induces more unpleasant feelings and stronger physiological responses in HE than in LE participants, suggesting that musical education reinforces aversion to dissonance. Skin conductance (SCR) and electromyographic (EMG) signals were analyzed according to a defense cascade model, which takes into account two successive time windows corresponding to orienting and defense responses. These analyses suggest that musical experience can influence the defense response to dissonance and demonstrate a powerful role of musical experience not only in autonomic but also in expressive responses to music.

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