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Bilinguals' experience of emotional meaning in music and language

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Gabriela Pavarini.

In this presentation I will first give an outline of the general idea of my PhD project that focusses on the relationship between emotion, music and language. This will be followed by a discussion of the studies conducted in the first year of my PhD aiming to find ‘lab-suitable’ musical stimuli mediating emotional meaning rapidly. My research centres around the question if there is direct access to the emotional meaning of words of a language acquired later in life (L2) similar to the first language (L1) and non-linguistic emotional content of music. This issue is addressed by means of a detailed behavioural (RTs) as well as electrophysiological (N400) analysis using an affective priming paradigm with prime-target pairs consisting respectively of a L1- or L2-word and a music stimulus. According to literature suggesting the L1 has a stronger emotional force than the L2 the two languages are expected to differ in their priming force on music. In the second part I will present the results of five behavioural studies aiming to find ‘proper’ stimulus material and a sensitive design replicating the priming effect with a new language (English, here used as L2). Different musical stimuli like chords, as single elements of music, and musical excerpts of different duration have been used. The challenge in these experiments was to find musical stimuli with a short duration (required e.g. to measure time-logged neural responses) on one hand and mediating emotional content unfolding over time on the other hand.

This talk is part of the The Centre for Music and Science (CMS) series.

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