Armyanskii ln., 4-2, Moscow, 101000, Russia


E. Panaiotidi

Emotional Contagion and Music

2018. Vol. 15. No. 1. P. 145–163 [issue contents]
The present article compares alternative theories of communication of emotions from music to listener in a non-cognitive way by means of emotional contagion. According to the main proponent of attentional model, S. Davies, the emotion expressed in music is the object of listener’s attention and it is recognized by her as the cause of her emotional state, generated by music. Crucial to Davies’ account is the notion that the listener does not hold emotion-relevant belief about music which is not the intentional object of her emotion. By contrast to this, advocates of simulation model (J. Robinson, T. Cochrane) argue that in case of emotional contagion music functions as a stimulus by activating motor and other physiological systems. Emotional contagion, which is based on motor mimicry, occurs automatically; emotion recognition is not its necessary precondition, but, according to Robinson, it can even become the impediment, blocking or lowering the effect of contagion. As the analysis of arguments onboth sides based on the findings of the newest studies in (musical) psychology and neuropsychology has shown, the discovery of mirror neurons, which are viewed today as a key factor in the phenomenon of imitation, provides supportfor the simulation model: mirror neurons are activated both during the specific action and its observation. The article also emphasizes such advantages of this model as parsimony and scope. The most serious objection to the supporters of the simulation model is about the lack of connection between the  recipient’s emotion and its source: the emotion, contained in music, directly produces physiological activation, which is transformed into emotion as a result of a listener marking his/her state according to the context. Stating that the supporters of the attentional model and their opponents operate by different concepts of emotions, the author concludes that for the resolution of their dispute it is needed to elaborate the criteria of evaluation and comparison of both approaches, which would be able to claim for consensus.
Citation: Panaiotidi E. (2018) Emotsional'noe zarazhenie i muzyka [Emotional Contagion and Music]. Psychology. Journal of Higher School of Economics, vol. 15, no 1, pp. 145-163 (in Russian)
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