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January 2022

Musical empathy (Einfuhling)

Author(s): Carterette, E. C.

Journal/Book: J Aud Res. 1985; 25: 47-65.

Abstract: In this paper an "alpha-effect" is defined as a plethysmograph amplitude increase to the hearing of music concurrently with strong affinity for music, pleasurable feeling and reported empathy. Based on this definition a hypothetical model of empathy to music is formulated and the psychophysiological alpha-effect mechanism is related to the processes of empathy and cognitive attribution. In order to understand the psychophysiological mechanism of the alpha-effect, a network is proposed made up of several physiological processes with feedback circuits and feedback circuits at both the sensory and physiological level, and at the cognitive and psychological level. It was aimed also to give a theoretical account of the efficacy of music and to explicate the underlying psychophysiological mechanisms of that efficacy. The model may also help clinical psychologists who want to use music as a therapeutic tool in arranging optimal programs suited to the individual needs, experience, and background of a patient.

Keyword(s): Emotions|PH. Empathy|. Music|


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