The effect of musical experience on emotional self-reports and psychophysiological responses to dissonance.Psychophysiology. 2011 Mar; 48(3):337-49.P
To study the influence of musical education on emotional reactions to dissonance, we examined self-reports and physiological responses to dissonant and consonant musical excerpts in listeners with low (LE: n=15) and high (HE: n=13) musical experience. The results show that dissonance induces more unpleasant feelings and stronger physiological responses in HE than in LE participants, suggesting that musical education reinforces aversion to dissonance. Skin conductance (SCR) and electromyographic (EMG) signals were analyzed according to a defense cascade model, which takes into account two successive time windows corresponding to orienting and defense responses. These analyses suggest that musical experience can influence the defense response to dissonance and demonstrate a powerful role of musical experience not only in autonomic but also in expressive responses to music.