SURF

Gregory Devine

Music and Mood: Tuning in to Music's Role in Emotion Regulation

Musics ability to evoke and communicate emotion seems intuitive and universal, but the cognitive and psychological processes that underlie musics emotive inductance still remain largely a mystery. Investigating how people perceive and engage with music ultimately reveals the complexities of emotion regulation. In this study, I compose music that targets various emotions and have participants evaluate changes in their mood state upon listening. By targeting and inducing emotions such as happiness, sadness, or anger in a lab setting, I can assess how effectively music either augments or diminishes the experience of a pre-existing mood, paying particular attention to whether the selected music is congruous (matching) or incongruous (non-matching) to the respective mood state. Music shows therapeutic potential not only in its emotive capabilities, but also as an easily accessible form of self-care and as an exercise of mindfulness via active listening. In this sense, music can be used by anyone anywhere to allay the risk of psychopathology by attenuating risk factors such as emotional trauma and depressive rumination whilst cultivating greater emotional control.

Message to Sponsor

The SURF experience allowed me to synthesize my interests through an interdisciplinary study on music cognition. As a neurobiology and music double major, I wanted to pursue both domains of my academic identity and SURF allowed me to do so. SURF's cluster meetings introduced me to new resources and academic practices that proved useful for both STEM and Humanities research. Additionally, guest panelists were brought in to speak about their research and industry experience.The SURF program not only helped me expand my network, but offered me a community of passionate scholars with whom I could share the learning experience of an independent research project. The data I collected this summer is fundamental to the remainder of my thesis, which will explore music's capacity to model and affect human emotion. Once I conclude my undergraduate studies, I hope to obtain an MD-PhD and investigate music's therapeutic potential in the practice of psychiatry. Thank you for your contributions to my summer, my research, and my future.
  • Major: Neurobiology and Music
  • Sponsor: Leadership L&S
  • Mentor: Ann Kring