Andrea Halpern, Professor of Psychology
We presented older and younger nonmusician adult listeners with (mostly) unfamiliar excerpts of film music. All listeners rated their emotional reaction using the Geneva Emotional Music Scale 9 (GEMS-9; Zentner, Grandjean, & Scherer, 2008), and also rated familiarity and liking. The GEMS-9 was factor-analyzed into 3 factors of Animacy, Valence, and Arousal. Although the 2 age groups liked the music equally well, and showed roughly the same pattern of responses to the different emotion categories, the younger group showed a wider range of emotional reactivity on all the factors. We found support for a type of positivity effect, in that older people found Happy music somewhat less happy than did younger people, but found Sad music much less sad than did younger people. Older people also rated Fearful music more positively than did younger people. We propose that the GEMS-9 scale is an efficient and effective device to collect evoked emotion data for a wide age range of listeners.
Pearce, Marcus T. and Halpern, Andrea. “Age-Related Patterns in Emotions Evoked by Music.”Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts 9, no. 3 (2015) : 248-253.