Music, action, and affect

Lincoln J. Colling, William Thompson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


In this chapter, the authors outline a model that aims to explain how music, as the paradigm example of an embodied signal, can evoke powerful emotional experiences. They argue that direct, unmediated emotional responses to music can be explained by viewing music listening as an embodied experience that engages sensory-motor processes. First, they illustrate the multi-modal nature of music by reviewing evidence that shows that merely observing the actions that accompany music performance greatly influences our perception and interpretation of the acoustic dimension of music. Second, they introduce a theoretical framework that views perception and action as inextricably linked, and that construes music as a unique type of multi-modal behavior specialized for engaging predictive, sensory-motor processes in listeners. Finally, they demonstrate that this framework allows for a unification of expectancy-based models of musical emotion and action-based models of emotional experience.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Emotional Power of Music: Multidisciplinary perspectives on musical arousal, expression, and social control
EditorsTom Cochrane, Bernardino Fantini, Klaus R. Scherer
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191762871
ISBN (Print)9780199654888
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Music, action, and affect'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this