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October 2021

The effect of intensity levels upon physiological and subjective affective responses to rock music

Author(s): Aiken, L. S.

Journal/Book: Journal of Music therapy. 1987; Silver Spring, Maryland, USA. National Association for Music therapy 8455 Colesville Rd., Suite 930 20910 Silver Spring, Maryland USA. journal article.

Abstract: While hard rock remains a currently prevalent music form, the nature of emotional responses to it has been virtually ignored by the behavioral sciences. The physiological indicators of GSR, heart rate, and respiration rate were examined as a function of intensity level of hard rock music versus simulated white noise of matched intensities. Subjective measures employed were a 10-point rating sclae and the Gough Adjective Checklist. Skin resistance decreased, breathing rate increase, and heart rate decelerated. These physiological responses are consistent with arousal, coupled with an orienting response. In contract with physiological measures, subjective measures of preference differentiated individual music selections. Furthermore, varying patterns of mood adjective endorsement were found as a function of intensity level of the music. In sum, physiological responses suggested a general arousal-attention state while subjective responses differentiated specific instances and intensity levels of the music ensemble. Conclusions from these data are restricted to those expressing a preference for rock music.

Keyword(s): effect, intensity, physiological, physiological-effects, physiological-responses, subjective, affective-responses, music, rock-and-roll-music, heart-rate, GSR, respiration.

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