What do we actually measure as music-induced emotions?

  • Maciej Janowski University of Silesia, Poland, Institute of Psychology
  • Maria Chełkowska-Zacharewicz University of Silesia, Poland, Institute of Psychology
Keywords: emotions; affect; music emotions; emotional reactions to music


The paper presents the results of a systematic review of 61 empirical studies in which emotions in response to music were measured. The analysis of each study was focused on the measurement of emotion components and the conceptualization of emotion both in hypothesis and discussion. The review does not support the claim that music evokes the same emotional reactions as life events do, especially modal emotions. Notably, neither a high intensity of feelings, nor intentionality were confirmed in relation to musical experiences, the emergence of specific action tendencies, or specific physiological changes. Based on the obtained results, it is recommended to use the terms “affect” or “music emotions” with reference to emotions experienced in reaction to music and to abandon the term “emotions” as misleading.


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