Help Privacy Policy Disclaimer
  Advanced SearchBrowse




Journal Article

Aesthetic and physiological effects of naturalistic multimodal music listening


Czepiel,  Anna       
Department of Music, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;
Department of Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University;


Fink,  Lauren       
Department of Music, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck-NYU Center for Language, Music, and Emotion;


Scharinger,  Mathias
Department of Language and Literature, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;
Research Group Phonetics, Department of German Linguistics, University of Marburg;

External Resource
No external resources are shared
Fulltext (restricted access)
There are currently no full texts shared for your IP range.
Fulltext (public)

(Publisher version), 2MB

Supplementary Material (public)
There is no public supplementary material available

Czepiel, A., Fink, L., Seibert, C., Scharinger, M., & Kotz, S. A. (2023). Aesthetic and physiological effects of naturalistic multimodal music listening. Cognition, 239: 105537. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2023.105537.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000B-2E01-1
ompared to audio only (AO) conditions, audiovisual (AV) information can enhance the aesthetic experience of a music performance. However, such beneficial multimodal effects have yet to be studied in naturalistic music performance settings. Further, peripheral physiological correlates of aesthetic experiences are not well-understood. Here, participants were invited to a concert hall for piano performances of Bach, Messiaen, and Beethoven, which were presented in two conditions: AV and AO. They rated their aesthetic experience (AE) after each piece (Experiment 1 and 2), while peripheral signals (cardio-respiratory measures, skin conductance, and facial muscle activity) were continuously measured (Experiment 2). AE was significantly higher in the AV condition in both experiments. Physiological arousal indices – skin conductance and LF/HF ratio, which represent activation of the sympathetic nervous system – were higher in the AO condition, suggesting increased arousal, perhaps because sound onsets in the AO condition were less predictable. However, breathing was faster and facial muscle activity was higher in the AV condition, suggesting that observing a performer’s movements likely enhances motor mimicry in these more voluntary peripheral measures. Further, zygomaticus (‘smiling’) muscle activity was a significant predictor of AE. Thus, we suggest physiological measures are related to AE, but at different levels: the more involuntary measures (i.e., skin conductance and heart rhythms) may reflect more sensory aspects, while the more voluntary measures (i.e., muscular control of breathing and facial responses) may reflect the liking aspect of an AE. In summary, we replicate and extend previous findings that AV information enhances AE in a more naturalistic music performance setting. We further show that a combination of self-report and peripheral measures benefit a meaningful assessment of AE in naturalistic music performance settings.