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Perceptions across cultures

In a study, people from different cultures mostly agreed on general emotional characterizations of musical sounds, such as anger, joy, or annoyance. They agreed that a song is angry but differ on whether the feeling is positive or negative.

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The subjective experience of music can be mapped within at least 13 overarching feelings: amusement, joy, eroticism, beauty, relaxation, sadness, dreaminess, triumph, anxiety, scariness, annoyance, defiance, and feeling pumped up.

Research findings on music can have potential applications:

  1. informing psychological and psychiatric therapies to produce certain feelings.
  2. helping music streaming services adjust their algorithms to satisfy their customers' audio needs.
Music can evoke many nuanced emotions. We don't always pay enough attention to what music is saying or how it's being understood. For instance:
  • Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” make people feel energized. 
  • The Clash’s “Rock the Casbah” pump people up. 
  • Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” evoke sensuality.
  • Israel (Iz) Kamakawiwoʻole’s “Somewhere over the Rainbow” elicits joy.
  • Heavy metal is widely viewed as defiant.

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RELATED IDEAS

When asked to explain in words what emotion is, we may come up with ideas that feel right, such as "sensitivity to events," or "your mind's reaction to experience," but fundamentally, emotions are intangible and the definitions offered are not good enough for science.

Words like "joy" and "rage" describe a set of complex processes in the brain and the body that are not always related.

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Disgust

Disgust is another of the original six basic emotions. Disgust can be displayed in a nuber of ways including:

  • Body language: turning away from the object of disgust
  • Physical reactions: such as vomiting or retching
  • Facial expressions: such as wrinkling the nose and curling the upper lip

This sense of revulsion can originate from a number of things, including an unpleasant taste, sight, or smell. This may be the body's way of avoiding things that may carry transmittable diseases.

Human Emotions

An emotion is an objective state that exhibits itself in many ways like behavior, facial expression, heart rate, blood pressure, and stress-hormone levels. Broadly speaking, we know that there are a limited number of discrete human emotions, mainly joy, anger, sadness, fear, love, hate and desire.

New research on human emotions reveals that they are not isolated into fixed slots, but are fluid, subjective, and can take a cue from the way we describe them, altering themselves accordingly.