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The Emotional & Neurological Effects of Expectancy and Tension Within Electronic Dance Music

Turrell, Amelia Skye (2022) The Emotional & Neurological Effects of Expectancy and Tension Within Electronic Dance Music. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.93493) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:93493)

Language: English

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Music undeniably evokes emotions, including peak-pleasurable emotions defined as strong and positive feelings, such as excitement. Researchers have taken a great interest in music-evoked emotions and their correlating brain activity, attempting to understand how, when, and why music is emotive. Previous researchers have suggested music structures which create and fulfil expectations are key to peak-pleasurable emotions and relating brain activity patterns. Research has also proposed that expectancy's effects on peak-pleasurable emotions and brain activity can be magnified by preceding feelings of tension (ITPRA; Huron, 2006). In this thesis, I further examined music structures, expectations, and tensions' influence on peak-pleasurable emotions and correlating brain activity, using understudied electronic dance music (EDM) motifs called break routines. EDM break routine structures consist of three segments: break down, build-up and drop passages. Particularly important are build-up passages, where acoustic features are gradually reintroduced and intensify to peak levels, which increases tension. Followed by drop passages, where songs return to their main grooves and fulfil listener expectations. This makes EDM break routine structures useful in assessing tension and expectancies influence on music-evoked emotions. In four experiments, I used EDM break routines, electroencephalography (EEG), and the circumplex model of emotions to investigate music structures effect on peak-pleasurable emotions and correlating brain activity. First, I established EDM break routines can induce peak-pleasurable emotions, such as excitement, and specific brain activity patterns across build-up and drop passages. Results suggested build-up passages intensified tension, as well as increased premotor cortex (PMC) and precuneus (PCUN) activity. Meanwhile, drop passages fulfilled expectations, inducing peak-pleasurable emotions, and correlating with greater middle frontal gyrus (MFG) and inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) activity. Second, I demonstrated the extent break routine structures evoked peak-pleasurable emotions and correlating brain activity, by comparing EDM and analogue classical break routines, which shared similar structures but varied in acoustic features. Similar peak-pleasurable emotions and correlating PMC and MFG activity, suggests EDM and analogue classical break routine structures (of tension and expectancy) influence peak-pleasurable emotions and relating brain activity to a greater extent than other musical elements, such as acoustic features. My third study then examined tension levels during EDM break routines and its influence on music-evoked emotions. This showed that while tension increased within build-up passages before decreasing during expected drop passages, greater tension levels did not magnify peak-pleasurable emotions from fulfilled expectations. Lastly, I used transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to assess the PMC and MFG's causational influence on peak-pleasurable emotions. Findings suggested that PMC and MFG activity have an indirect cause on music-evoked emotions, mediated by the perception of EDM break routine structures, and consequently levels of expectancy and tension. Overall, these results clarified the extent music structures (which intensify tension prior to fulfilling expectations) alongside mediating PMC and MFG activity, can evoke peak-pleasurable emotions using EDM break routines.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Javadi, Amir-Homayoun
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.93493
Uncontrolled keywords: Expectancy, Tension, Electronic Dance Music (EDM), Peak Pleasurable Emotions, Frontal Cortex, Brain Activity, Arousal, Valence
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2022 09:10 UTC
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2022 08:40 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Turrell, Amelia Skye.

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