Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 341–348

The development of emotional responses to music in young children

  • Andrew H. Gregory
  • Lisa Worrall
  • Ann Sarge
Article

Abstract

Children aged 3 to 4 and 7 to 8 years listened to eight tunes which were either in the major or minor mode and either unaccompanied melody or harmonized. For each tune children selected one of two schematic faces chosen to depict happy or sad facial expressions. Children 7 to 8 years old showed a significant major-happy and minor-sad connotation, which was also shown by adults. However 3 to 4 year-olds did not show any such significant association between musical mode and emotional response. Harmonic accompaniment significantly increased the frequency of happy responses. The results support the idea of a learned association between mode and emotional response.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Buck, P. (1934).The Oxford nursery song book. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Crowder, R. G. (1984). Perception of the major/minor distinction: I. Historical and theoretical foundations.Psychomusicology, 4, 3–12.Google Scholar
  3. Crowder, R. G. (1985). Perception of the major/minor distinction: III. Hedonic, musical and affective discriminations.Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 23, 314–316.Google Scholar
  4. Crowder, R. G., Reznick, J. S., & Rosenkrantz, S. I. (1991). Perception of the major/minor distinction: V. Preferences among infants.Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 29, 187–188.Google Scholar
  5. Cunningham, J. G., & Sterling, R. (1988). Developmental change in the understanding of affective meaning in music.Motivation and Emotion, 12, 399–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dolgin, K. G., & Adelson, E. H. (1990). Age changes in the ability to interpret affect in sung and instrumental melodies.Psychology of Music, 18, 87–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Heinlein, C. P. (1928). The affective characteristics of major and minor modes in music.Journal of Comparative Psychology, 8, 101–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hevner, K. (1935). The affective character of the major and minor modes in music.American Journal of Psychology, 47, 103–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kastner, M. P., & Crowder, R. G. (1990). Perception of the major/minor distinction: IV. Emotional connotations in young children.Music Perception, 87, 189–202.Google Scholar
  10. Kratus, J. (1993). A developmental study of children’s interpretation of emotion in music.Music Perception, 21, 3–19.Google Scholar
  11. Lundin, R. W. (1967).An objective psychology of music (2nd ed., p. 168). New York: Ronald.Google Scholar
  12. Scherer, K. R., & Oshinsky, J. S. (1977). Cue utilization in emotional attribution from auditory stimuli.Motivation and Emotion, 1, 331–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Smiley, P., & Huttenlocher, J. (1989). Young children’s acquisition of emotion concepts. In C. Saarni & P. L. Harris (Eds.),Children’s understanding of emotion. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Terwogt, M. M., & van Grinsven, F. (1991). Musical expression of moodstates.Psychology of Music, 19, 99–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. von Helmholtz, H. L. F. (1954).On the sensations of tone (4th ed.) (A. J. Ellis, Trans.). New York: Dover. (Original work published 1877)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew H. Gregory
    • 1
  • Lisa Worrall
    • 1
  • Ann Sarge
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ManchesterManchesterEngland

Personalised recommendations