Painful Moan or Erotic Groan: Top-down Influence on the Emotional Response to Sounds

UNCA Author/Contributor (non-UNCA co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kadie Blackman, Student (Creator)
University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA )
Web Site:
Michael Neelon

Abstract: The present study tested the effects of top-down processing, in particular the influence of contextual knowledge, on the emotional interpretation of sounds. This was done through a study on the affective priming of auditory stimuli. Eighteen sounds from the International Affective Digitized Sounds (six positive, six negative, and six neutral) were played in three different framing-label conditions. The positive condition displayed an emotionally positive labelpreceding each sound, the negative condition displayed an emotionally unpleasant label, and the neutral condition displayed letter labels. The current study chose to examine the effects of top-down processing by examining both implicit and explicit measures of emotional response. Electrodermal activity and facial muscle activity were recorded in order to measure the physiological responses to each label-sound pair as a means of investigating implicit responses. Participants also provided their ratings of each sound’s valence and arousal in order to measureexplicit emotional responses. It was hypothesized that participants would exhibit physiological responses typically evoked by pleasant stimuli (e.g., increased zygomaticus activity) in the positive label condition, and responsestypically evoked by unpleasant stimuli (e.g., increased corrugator activity) in the negative label condition, both regardless of sound valence. This study found both sound type and label type to have a significant effect onparticipants’ ratings on valence, but not on their ratings of arousal. There was, however, a significant interaction of sound type and label type on both valence and arousal. In regards to physiological measurements, sound type had asignificant effect on zygomaticus activity, but not on electrodermal activity or corrugator activity. Label type did not produce a significant effect for facial muscle activity or electrodermal activity.

Additional Information

UNC Asheville - Journal of Undergraduate Research
Language: English
Date: 2014
emotional response, sound

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