Music performances often consist of both auditory and visual information, yet the role of the visual information can be overlooked. It is argued that the visual aspects of music performance can positively or negatively affect various aspects of the musical performance. The present study looks at the relationship of the performer’s facial expressions and the listener’s perception of emotion. Two songs were selected as stimuli, one “happy” and one “sad” and we created audiovisual recordings of each song. Using congruent and incongruent audio-visual conditions, it was hypothesized that the video would strengthen emotion perception in the congruent conditions while weakening emotion perception in the incongruent conditions. We found that the presentation of happy visuals significantly increased ratings of happiness regardless of the music. These findings support the idea that visual information plays a role in perception of emotion in music.


Neuhoff, John




Cognition and Perception

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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