Listening to music makes us move in various ways. Several factors can affect the characteristics of these movements, including individual factors and musical features. Additionally, music-induced movement may also be shaped by the emotional content of the music, since emotions are an important element of musical expression. This study investigates possible relationships between emotional characteristics of music and music-induced, quasi-spontaneous movement. We recorded music-induced movement of 60 individuals, and computationally extracted features from the movement data. Additionally, the emotional content of the stimuli was assessed in a perceptual experiment. A subsequent correlational analysis revealed characteristic movement features for each emotion, suggesting that the body reflects emotional qualities of music. The results show similarities to movements of professional musicians and dancers, and to emotion-specific nonverbal behavior in general, and could furthermore be linked to notions of embodied music cognition. The valence and arousal ratings were subsequently projected onto polar coordinates to further investigate connections between the emotions of Russell’s (1980) circumplex models and the movement features
- Received May 4, 2012.
- Accepted January 18, 2013.
- © 2013 by The Regents of the University of California