Book Chapter

Underlying mechanisms and processes in the development of emotion perception in music


The child as musician: A handbook of musical development | Oxford University Press | Published : 2015


This chapter proposes a spiral model to explain the development of the perception of emotion in music from infant to adolescent. Development begins with a “schematic” processing style (related to “absolutism”) which links emotion and music via automated responses to the environment, such as a startle to sudden loud sounds or attraction to infant-directed speech. The young child then moves into a period where veridical/one-to-one music–emotion connections are formed (related to “referentialism”) primarily as a result of exposure to cultural norms. The spiral then winds back toward an emphasis on schematic links, where children draw on their repertoire of musical experiences, and react at adul..

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