Three behavioral experiments were conducted to investigate the hypothesis that perceived emotion activates expectations for upcoming musical events. Happy, sad, and neutral pictures were used as emotional primes. In Experiments 1 and 2, expectations for the continuation of neutral melodic openings were tested using an implicit task that required participants to judge the tuning of the first note of the melodic continuation. This first note was either high or low in pitch (Experiment 1) or followed either a narrow or wide melodic interval (Experiment 2). Experiment 3 assessed expectations using an explicit task and required participants to rate the quality of melodic continuations, which varied in register and interval size. Experiments 1 and 3 confirmed that emotion indeed modulates expectations for melodic continuations in a high or low register. The effect of emotion on expectations for melodic intervals was significant only in Experiment 3, although there was a trend for happiness to increase expectations for wide intervals in Experiment 2.
- Received September 4, 2012.
- Accepted October 22, 2013.
- © 2014 by The Regents of the University of California