Friday, December 09, 2005

The Feeling of Music Past

The Feeling of Music Past: How Listeners Remember Musical Affect


Article written by Alexander Rozin

Report written by Gabriel Yonkler

Introduction
This study discussed in the article from this article was conducted to determine how listeners derive evaluations of past aural musical experiences based on moment-to-moment increments as well as overall evaluation.  The experiment will provide us possible ways and reasons people feel and remember music based on intensity.  

Background Knowledge
A musical experience is felt differently based on specific moments of a musical experience or piece.  The characteristics of moment-to-moment listening that influence “remembered musical affect” are the music’s intensity and quality.  Despite temporary differences in felt musical affect, listeners form a overall evaluation of an experience/piece after it has ended, reducing the many different effects felt into a single word, or even a cliché (e.g., sad, good, out of this world).  This article investigates how listeners remember these musical influences; how they assess a past musically effective experience.  A study of remembered musical affect and how it derives from moment-to-moment affect is a crucial element of a total understanding of musical influence.  “How does a listener’s designation of a piece as ‘sad’ or ‘intense’ emerge from a continually changing experience that may last several hours?”

Past Research and Results
Experiment #1: The first experiment, led by Daniel Kahneman, proposes insight on how to explore the affiliation between remembered affect and moment-to-moment affect.  Despite this experiment not relating to music and dealing with pain rather than intensity, this research can still aid us in our current study.  Participants of the study evaluated plotless movie clips from ocean waves to an active volcano, which yielded pleasant/unpleasant responses and overall evaluations.  The statistical analysis from the experiment showed that the best predictor for remembered affect of positive film clips is the sum of the highest of the moment-to-moment ratings (the affective peak) during the clip, and the momentary rating at the end of the clip.  This is what Kahneman called the peak-end rule.  As far as negative film clips are concerned, the affective peak rating appeared to be the best predictor of remembered affect.  In both positive and negative examples, the duration of the film clips did not have any influence on the retrospective ratings.  This is known as duration neglect.  Although it is rational to think that by adding moments of appeal or pleasure makes an experience better and adding pain makes it worse, this experiment refutes that logic.
Experiment #2: This experiment further investigates the role of duration neglect we found in the first experiment.  Each participant provided on-line and retrospective ratings of two separate experiences.  In the first trial, participants dipped one of their hands in 14˚C (57.2˚F) water and left it submerged for sixty seconds.  The next trial was the same as the first trial, except after the initial sixty seconds, the experimenters heated the water from 14˚C to 15˚C (59˚F) in an additional thirty seconds.  If the peak-end rule predicts remembered affect like in the positive film clips, than the participants would have preferred the second trial because it ended with a higher temperature, which was lower pain or less uncomfortable in that case, than the first trial.  This came to be true as most participants wanted to repeat the second trial.  Again the length of the trial had no effect on the remembered affect even though the longer trial proved to be more enjoyable; it was simply the temperature that affected remembered affect.

Hsee and Abelson (1991)
Experiments Hsee and Abelson believed that the significance of other moment-to-moment characteristics go beyond the peak-end rule.  They suggest that the positive or negative slope of change within a musical experience is perhaps the dominant factor for evaluating these past experiences.  Evidence shows that participants naturally prefer declining sequences of pain rather than increasing sequences.

The Main Experiment
  • “Hypothesis 1. Duration Neglect: The length of a piece of music should contribute minimally to the remembered affect.”

  • “Hypothesis 2. Peak Significance: The peak of momentary affective intensity should disproportionately influence remembered affect.”

  • “Hypothesis 3. End Significance: The last momentary affective intensity should disproportionately influence retrospective evaluations of affect.

  • “Hypothesis 4. Slope Significance: The slope of moment-to-moment intensity experience should influence remembered intensity in some significant way.  Perhaps a larger, more positive slope translates into better memory encoding.”

The following study tests the validity of these hypotheses for music.  How do listeners derive a single remembered intensity from moment-to-moment intensities?  Do any or all of these effects hold for experiencing music?

(Turn on projector)

Procedure: Twenty participants from the University of Pennsylvania (seven male, thirteen female, with an average age of 21, and each had varied musical training ranging from 0-15 years) were to listen to fourteen different selections (see Table 1) each played twice consecutively.  These selections varied from pop music to classical and that the length of each selection would range from forty seconds to three minutes.  While the participants listened to the selected music, a pressure sensitive button on the right arm of recliner they were seated in was used to determine the moment-to-moment emotional intensity.  To gather information of remembered affects, in addition to the pressure sensitive button, the participants filled out a questionnaire after each selection.
Results: For eighteen out of the twenty participants, the connections between remembered intensity and liking were positive.  The more intense memories of a piece of music the listener has, the more that listener likes the piece.  Table 2 is a clear representation of this observation.  As you can see also from Table 2, eighteen out of the twenty participants had a positive correlation between remembered intensity and familiarity.  Although not as influential as the connection with liking, remembered intensity does appear to depend on familiarity.  Table 3 is a clear indication of duration neglect.  The remembered intensity is better predicted by the average of moment-to-moment affects than the sum of moment-to-moment affects for nineteen of the twenty participants.  (Change slide to fig.4 +5).
     Data gathered from the experiment does not support the peak-end rule.  Peak plus offset was the best predictor of remembered intensity for only three participants, while compared to five for average, five for offset, and seven for peak.  Further analysis reveals that peak and end significance are examples of more general effects.  End significance results from a recency effect.  Recency is a familiar property of memory and demonstrates that greater amounts of time between initial learning of information and attempts to recall that information yield inaccurate recall.  Peak significance is an indicator of an intensity effect.  This concept can be understood by the correlations between remembered intensity and intensity-ranked values of on-line experience.  Listeners derive remembered experience predominantly from the most intense moments of on-line experience.  The least intense moments contribute relatively little to affective memory.
     The last effect that was observed from the data is a slope effect (change slides).  A measure of the slope of a moment-to-moment curve is the difference between one moment and its immediate antecedent, which in this experiment is measured by 0.1 seconds before that moment (refer to figure 3).  

3 Comments:

Blogger mavoix said...

Again, your presentationt was well-researched. That first sentence about "the article from the article" was a little bit verbose and unnecessary. The following paragraph was a bit esoteric; make sure that "speak on the level of your audience." Even for someone who understood the vocabulary, the terms used made it a bit inspecific.

Friday, December 09, 2005 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger mavoix said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Friday, December 09, 2005 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger hollywoodhottie said...

Your presentation was very scholarly! Yet it wasn't too boring! (not counting the length...I know you didn't know!)

Saturday, December 10, 2005 4:48:00 PM  

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