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The “Musical Emotional Bursts”: a validated set of musical affect bursts to investigate auditory affective processing

Abstract : The Musical Emotional Bursts (MEB) consist of 80 brief musical executions expressing basic emotional states (happiness, sadness and fear) and neutrality. These musical bursts were designed to be the musical analog of the Montreal Affective Voices (MAV)-a set of brief non-verbal affective vocalizations portraying different basic emotions. The MEB consist of short (mean duration: 1.6 s) improvisations on a given emotion or of imitations of a given MAV stimulus, played on a violin (10 stimuli × 4 [3 emotions + neutral]), or a clarinet (10 stimuli × 4 [3 emotions + neutral]). The MEB arguably represent a primitive form of music emotional expression, just like the MAV represent a primitive form of vocal, non-linguistic emotional expression. To create the MEB, stimuli were recorded from 10 violinists and 10 clarinetists, and then evaluated by 60 participants. Participants evaluated 240 stimuli [30 stimuli × 4 (3 emotions + neutral) × 2 instruments] by performing either a forced-choice emotion categorization task, a valence rating task or an arousal rating task (20 subjects per task); 40 MAVs were also used in the same session with similar task instructions. Recognition accuracy of emotional categories expressed by the MEB (n:80) was lower than for the MAVs but still very high with an average percent correct recognition score of 80.4%. Highest recognition accuracies were obtained for happy clarinet (92.0%) and fearful or sad violin (88.0% each) MEB stimuli. The MEB can be used to compare the cerebral processing of emotional expressions in music and vocal communication, or used for testing affective perception in patients with communication problems.
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Sébastien Paquette, Isabelle Peretz, Pascal Belin. The “Musical Emotional Bursts”: a validated set of musical affect bursts to investigate auditory affective processing. Frontiers in Psychology, Frontiers, 2013, 4, ⟨10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00509⟩. ⟨hal-02008794⟩

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