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Affective responses to music in depressed individuals: Aesthetic judgments, emotions, and the impact of music-evoked autobiographical memories
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Music’s powerful influence on our affective states is often utilized in everyday life for emotion regulation and in music-therapeutic interventions against depression. Given this ability of music to influence emotions and symptoms in depressed people, it appears imperative to understand how these individuals affectively respond to music. The primary aim of this thesis is to explore whether depressed individuals have distinct affective responses to music, in terms of aesthetic judgments, emotional reactions, and emotion regulation. Furthermore, the thesis aims to provide possible explanations for such differences, in terms of underlying psychological processes (e.g., emotion-induction mechanisms) and depressive attributes (e.g., cognitive biases). Study I involves a music listening experiment exploring the relationship between depression and aesthetic judgments in music. Findings indicate that depression is associated with higher ratings of aesthetic judgment, accompanied by an enhanced reliance on the expressivity criterion. However, this relationship is not accompanied by an association between depression and the Openness to Experience personality factor. Study II investigates emotion regulation with music in depressed individuals, by means of a survey. The study features a novel conceptual framework for studying emotion regulation with music, grounded on the established process model of emotion regulation (Gross, 2008) in combination with the music-specific multi-level GSTM approach (van Goethem & Sloboda, 2011). Results indicate that depressed individuals do not differ from controls in their “active” emotional responding (i.e., emotion regulation) to music. Study III features an experiment comparing depressed to controls’ “passive” emotional responses (i.e., emotional reactions) to musical stimuli designed to activate specific mechanisms (i.e., Brain stem reflex, Contagion, and Episodic memory). Findings suggest that differences in emotional reactions occur with respect to episodic memory, potentially due to cognitive biases. Finally, Study IV follows up on these results and investigates the valence and specificity of music-evoked memories in depressed individuals. The study finds that depressed participants’ memories are negatively biased, but do not differ from controls’ in level of specificity. Together, the findings of this thesis suggest that music listening may have a dual potential for depressed individuals, functioning both as a beneficial resource for alleviating depressive symptoms (due to, e.g., elevated aesthetic appreciation of music) and as a contributing factor to depressive mood (due to, e.g., negatively biased memories).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2018. , p. 115
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 151
Keywords [en]
depression, music listening, emotional reactions, emotion regulation, aesthetic judgment, cognitive bias, music-evoked autobiographical memories
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-339560ISBN: 978-91-513-0221-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-339560DiVA, id: diva2:1176110
Public defence
2018-03-22, Sal IV, Universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-02-19 Created: 2018-01-19 Last updated: 2018-03-07
List of papers
1. No accounting for taste? Idiographic models of aesthetic judgment in music
Open this publication in new window or tab >>No accounting for taste? Idiographic models of aesthetic judgment in music
2016 (English)In: Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, ISSN 1931-3896, E-ISSN 1931-390X, Vol. 10, no 2, p. 157-170Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Music is commonly regarded as one of the fine arts, but aesthetic responses to music are still poorly understood. In this study, we investigated aesthetic judgments of music by using the tools of judgment analysis. The aim was to shed some light on the psychological process through which listeners use a set of subjective and differentially weighted criteria to assign aesthetic value to pieces of music. We used a stratified random sampling procedure to select 72 pieces of music from 12 genres. The pieces were divided across 2 groups of participants (N = 44), who rated each piece with regard to 7 aesthetic criteria (e.g., beauty, originality, expressivity) and overall aesthetic value. Both individual ("idiographic") and averaged ("nomothetic") multiple regression analyses were conducted on the listeners' judgments. The results revealed that (a) linear models provided a good fit to the listeners' aesthetic judgments (mean variance accounted for 76%), suggesting that the process is systematic and mainly additive; (b) some criteria (e.g., originality, skill) made a larger contribution to prediction than others overall; (c) there were wide individual differences between listeners concerning which criteria they used; (d) a nomothetic regression model did not adequately reflect the distinct judgment policies of individual listeners; (e) the trait openness to experience was not correlated with judgments of aesthetic value; and (f) listeners who scored high on the Beck Depression Inventory generally provided higher ratings of aesthetic value (r = .40) than listeners who scored low.

Keywords
aesthetics; judgment; modeling; music; preference
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-269913 (URN)10.1037/aca0000034 (DOI)000379783500005 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 421-2010-2129
Available from: 2015-12-18 Created: 2015-12-18 Last updated: 2018-01-19Bibliographically approved
2. Emotion regulation with music in depressed and non-depressed individuals: goals, strategies, and mechanisms
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Emotion regulation with music in depressed and non-depressed individuals: goals, strategies, and mechanisms
2018 (English)In: Music & Science, ISSN 20592043, Vol. 1, p. 1-12Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2018
Keywords
depression, emotion regulation, mechanisms, music listening, strategies
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-339558 (URN)
Available from: 2018-01-19 Created: 2018-01-19 Last updated: 2018-03-14Bibliographically approved
3. Emotional reactions to music in depressed individuals
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Emotional reactions to music in depressed individuals
2018 (English)In: Psychology of Music, ISSN 0305-7356, E-ISSN 1741-3087, Vol. 46, no 6, p. 862-880Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Music is often used to alleviate depression, an affective disorder. Yet, little is known about how listeners suffering from depression respond emotionally to music. The goal of this study was to investigate whether listeners show different patterns of emotional reactions to music depending on level of depression. In previous research, depression has been linked with negative biases in cognitive processes such as memory and attention. Here we indirectly investigated whether such biases may also influence psychological mechanisms involved in the arousal of emotions during musical experiences. Seventy-seven listeners (19?65 years old) took part in an experiment which compared depressed individuals with non-depressed controls. The participants listened to music stimuli designed to target specific induction mechanisms (brain stem reflex, contagion, episodic memory), and were asked to rate felt emotions. Based on previous studies on cognitive bias, we made predictions about how depression would affect reactions to each stimulus. The predictions received partial support: depressed listeners reported significantly lower levels of happiness in the memory condition and non-significantly higher levels of anxiety in the brain stem condition, than did controls. Conversely, no difference in reported sadness was found in the contagion condition. Observed differences were mainly attributable to the severely depressed listeners.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SAGE Publications Ltd, 2018
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-331331 (URN)10.1177/0305735617730425 (DOI)000446490000006 ()
Available from: 2017-10-12 Created: 2017-10-12 Last updated: 2018-11-29Bibliographically approved
4. Music-evoked episodic autobiographical memories in depressed individuals: Evidence of a negative cognitive bias.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Music-evoked episodic autobiographical memories in depressed individuals: Evidence of a negative cognitive bias.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-339559 (URN)
Available from: 2018-01-19 Created: 2018-01-19 Last updated: 2018-01-19

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