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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnins.2019.00902

Uncertain emotion discrimination differences between musicians and nonmusicians is determined by fine structure association: Hilbert transform psychophysics

  • 1City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • 2Institute of Neurobiology, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico

We perceive musical sound as a complex phenomenon, which is known to induce an emotional response in humans. The cues used to perceive emotion in music have not been unequivocally elucidated. Here, we sought to identify the attributes of sound that confer an emotion to music and determine if professional musicians have different musical emotion perception than nonmusicians. The objective was to determine which sound cues are used to resolve emotional signals. Happy or sad classical music excerpts modified in fine structure or envelope conveyed different degrees of emotional certainty. The psychophysical emotional response of the modified excerpts was measure based on the originals. Certainty was determined by identification of the emotional characteristic presented during a forced-choice discrimination task. Participants were categorized as good or poor performers (n = 32, age 21.17 ± 2.63 SD) and in a separate group as musicians in the first or last year of music education at a conservatory (n = 32, age 21.97 ± 2.42). We found that temporal fine structure information is essential for correct emotional identification. Non-musically educated individuals used less fine structure information to discriminate emotion in music compared with musically educated individuals. The present psychophysical experiments revealed what cues are used to resolve emotional signals and how they differ between nonmusicians and musically educated individuals.

Keywords: emotion, Psychophysics, modulation, fine structure, envelope, Frequency, Amplitude

Received: 17 Jun 2019; Accepted: 13 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Manno, Rodriguez-Cruces, Lau and Barrios. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Francis A. Manno, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong,