Musical emotions: the effect of happy and sad music on mood

Crystal B. Hardman, The College of Wooster


The present study examined the effects of music mood and disposition on the perception of ambiguous situations. Participants listened to either "happy" or "sad" music while viewing an ambiguous image, which they composed a short narrative about. After viewing the images, participants completed the Life Orientation Test-Revised (LOT-R) to determine whether they were naturally optimistic or pessimistic. The hypotheses of this study were that the mood of the music would indeed influence participants' perception of what was occurring in the images, but that pessimists would be less influenced by the music than optimists. The results indicated that music did, in fact, influence the mood of the narratives composed, but that pessimists were not less influenced by the music than optimists.