Music as a Regulator of Emotion: Three Case Studies

Happy to share my first academic publication from the July issue of Music & Medicine! Article includes my work from UC San Diego on musical intensity and self-harming behaviors as well as 3 case studies illustrating how music can be used in life-preserving ways. Conducting this research was one of the most challenging and meaningful endeavors of my life, and I’m honored to see these individuals’ powerful stories shared.

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SMPC 2017 Photo Recap

 

SMPC2017 LOGO

This year, I had the privilege of serving as event photographer and social media chair for the annual meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition. I am happy to share that the official #SMPC2017 flickr is now online! Feel free to download, tag, and share your memories from this year’s conference. Link for sharing: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm5Qgj2M

Here’s the slideshow I put together of the conference photos. If you were in attendance, it was the video shown during the banquet Wednesday night.

Hope everyone had a blast at SMPC 2017! Happy viewing!

 

SMPC official logo

ICMPC Poster: Musical Intensity in Affect Regulaton: Interventons in Self-Harming Behavior

In partial fulfillment of my graduate thesis, this poster represents the findings of my study conducted at the University of California, San Diego. Presented July 5, 2016 at the 14th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition in San Francisco.

For full study, see chapter 2 of my thesis.

For PDF, see HERELD poster ICMPC.

Abstract:

Prior research associates listening to heavy music with reduced suicide risk, especially among teenage girls when utilized for vicarious release. Nevertheless, few studies consider the active use of heavy music in self-regulation for those who suffer from thoughts of self-harm and/or mental illness. In order to to better understand the mechanisms by which engaging with heavy and intense music may circumvent self-harming behavior, a pilot study is presented of 283 subjects. The majority of those surveyed report suffering from thoughts of self-harm or mental disorders. To examine the use of affect regulation via both generic (non-specified) and heavy, intense, and highly emotive music, we created the Music in Affect Regulation Questionnaire (MARQ), utilizing music in mood regulation (MMR) strategies from the work of Saarikallio. We identify heavy music by the presence of capacious, distorted riffs; loud, pervasive percussion; or an overall feeling of ‘raw power,’ emotion, and affective intensity stemming from the instrumental or vocal parts. Our findings collectively show that heavy music listeners (and those who have thoughts of self-harm, in particular) interact with definitively heavy, intense, or highly emotive music differently than with generic music, especially in the use of modulating negative mood. These findings seem less related to genre-specific categories than certain musical commonalities collectively understood as intensity, and provide significant evidence for heavy music’s ability to circumvent self-destructive impulses, especially when applied in tandem with specific listening strategies of affect-regulation. Additional evidence from prior case studies further suggests the value of deeper investigation of the conscientious use of heavy music as a potential intervention for those suffering from affect dysregulation and self-harm.

HERELD ICMPC

Musical Intensity in Affect Regulaton: Interventons in Self-Harming Behavior

Help Fund My Thesis Research in Music, Mind, and the Brain

1511649_10100770379146070_1472478529_oHello all! Sincerest apologies for the severe lack of content over the past year or so. I have been tucked away studying music and psychology at UCSD, and who knew: grad school can be time-consuming! Luckily, I’m unwaveringly passionate about what I have been privileged to research, and I’ve enjoyed…well, many moments 🙂

To come to the point, I’d like to ask a bit of support in order to finish my thesis. In 2011, I received generous support from you all to attend my first conference surrounding music and the brain. Five years later, I find myself again in need of assistance to conduct research in my field. This time, however, your help will fund the final steps for completion of my thesis: broadly approaching how music might be used to combat and intervene in young people who struggle with self-destructive behavior. I have an immense faith in music’s capacity to heal, transform, and even save lives.

Taking place in 3 weeks, I have been invited to participate and present my research in the UK in Epigenesis and Philosophy: A Workshop on the Work of Catherine Malabou. This event brings together scholars in both the humanities and natural sciences. We will engage in critical discussion regarding our work in tandem with the work of the aforementioned French philosopher widely known for her ideas which merge philosophy, neuroscience, and psychoanalysis. Some of you may recall my enthusiasm for her work on plasticity as the catalyst for my decision to pursue graduate studies in how music may be used as a healing tool. I have since been lucky enough to converse with Catherine on a number of occasions, and she remains a primary source of inspiration and critical analysis in the wake of her timely question “What Should We Do With Our Brain?”

As a graduate student, I have been obscenely blessed with a fellowship that allows me to study in a wonderful program. Last year, I was awarded graduate travel stipends that allowed me to present my work locally and abroad. Unfortunately, the financial situation in my department is quite different this year, and it seems what few resources were available have been exhausted. Participation in the upcoming workshop would be a tremendous aid in research for the thesis (which must be completed by May of this year for graduation in June). The budget including air travel, ground transportation, food and lodging comes to around $1,700. 

Funding this vital research not only supports completion of my graduate thesis — it furthers investigation of the transformative healing, powers I believe music can have on the mind. Please consider joining others who have donated here and help us make the largest impact possible.

Give to this research

 

For information on the types of research I do, please feel free to contact me at dhereld@ucsd.edu or visit any of the sites below:

Abstract – Recovering the Voice Through Sonic Gesture: Contending the Annihilation of Self

Paper – Heavy and Light: Uncovering resilience and positive affect in extreme music

As The Spirit Wanes, or The Hope of Plasticity

Thank you so much for your support!

 

 

MIND OVER METAL: METAL MUSIC AND CULTURE FROM A CROSS-DISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVE (CALL FOR PAPERS)

Note: Pathways in Music is going to go ahead and vehemently endorse this conference. 

CALL FOR PAPERS – DEADLINE: October 20, 2015 12 noon GMT

METAL MUSIC AND CULTURE FROM A CROSS-DISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVE

December 3-4, 2015 • Odense, Denmark

The Performances of Everyday Living Dept. for the Study of Culture, University of Southern Denmark (SDU) at Odense with the support of The Danish Council for Independent Research | Humanities

Keynote speakers: Rikke Platz Cortsen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark • Theodore Gracyk, Minnesota State University Moorhead, USA • Keith Kahn-Harris, Birkbeck College and Leo Baeck College, UK • Imke von Helden, University of KoblenzLandau, Germany • Florian Heesch, University of Siegen, Germany • Toni-Matti Karjalainen, Aalto University, Finland • Tore Tvarnø Lind, University of Copenhagen, Denmark • Karl Spracklen, Leeds Beckett University, UK.

The research program The Performances of Everyday Living at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) at Odense is pleased to invite paper submissions for presentation at MIND OVER METAL: METAL MUSIC AND CULTURE FROM A CROSS-DISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVE, December 3-4, 2015 at SDU in Odense, Denmark. We welcome research presentations that examine metal music and culture from the perspectives of philosophy, musicology, marketing, media studies, medicine, acoustics, theology, literary studies, music pedagogy, semiotics, sociology, linguistics, religious studies, anthropology, psychology, biology, education studies, music therapy, performance studies and culture studies. Exemplification by means of audio-visual material is most welcome. The time allotted per paper will be 30 minutes for presentation and 15 minute for discussion; each speaker will thus be accorded 45 minutes including discussion. An abstract of minimum 350 words/maximum 400 words should be submitted to cmgrund@sdu.dk with “Paper submission for Mind over Metal” on the subject line no later than 12 noon GMT on October 20, 2015. Each abstract submitted will receive double-blind peer review, and you will receive notification of whether or not your paper has been accepted for presentation by 12 noon GMT on October 27, 2015. Papers presented at the conference will be afforded the opportunity for publication in a special issue of JMM: The Journal of Music and Meaning http://www.musicandmeaning.net, provided they pass the double-blind peer review process employed by JMM. JMM is an international peer-reviewed academic online journal published from the Study of Culture at SDU with the support of The Danish Council for Independent Research | Humanities. Portions – perhaps all – of the conference – will be streamed live online. Attendance at the conference is free; there is no conference fee. All who receive notice that their papers have been accepted for presentation are asked to confirm participation no later than November 1.

We request that all who wish to come to SDU on December 3 and 4 simply to attend the conference (without presenting a paper) register no later than November 19, 2015 by sending an email marked “Registration” to cmgrund@sdu.dk. Information about lodgings, eating establishments and other practical facilities in Odense, as well as updates regarding the conference in general will be available at http://www.soundmusicresearch.org/mom/updates.pdf.


A poster is available at http://www.soundmusicresearch.org/mom/PLAKAT_280915.pdf

UC MERCI Project Wins $300K Award for Music and Science Research

UC MERCI

Scott Makeig, research scientist and director of the Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience at the Institute for Neural Computation of UC San Diego, has brought together a research group from four UC campuses who have won a $300,000 President’s Research Catalyst Award, one of five such awards across the UC system announced by President Janet Napolitano.

The group’s research, which uses music to understand the human brain, “brings together UC experts on music listening, performance, neuroscience, brain imaging, and data science to understand the transformative potential of music for health and cognition,” says Napolitano’s announcement.

Makeig and his colleagues are among the first to receive the new awards, which will channel $10 million over three years to fund research in areas of strategic importance, such as sustainability and climate, food and nutrition, equity and social justice, education innovation, and health care.

“It’s gratifying to know our work on the frontiers of music, systems neuroscience, and human experience has been recognized for its potential value,” said Makeig. “I’m especially pleased for my collaborators. This is a true team effort by scientists from different disciplines with common interests in musical experience and communication.”

His winning project proposes “an American center for the scientific study of musical experience, communication, and behavior.” The UC Music Experience Research Community Initiative (UC MERCI) will allow UC researchers to share cutting-edge resources and collaboratively develop methods to understand – and enhance – music’s ability to affect and even transform the human mind.

Working with Makeig on the project are John Iversen, Sarah Creel, and Gert Lanckriet of UC San Diego; Ramesh Balasubramaniam, UC Merced; Petr Janata, UC Davis; and Mark Tramo, UCLA. Under the initiative, a group of graduate students will work together across the four campuses. California music-industry groups may also be involved.

“The study of musical experience and communication is truly interdisciplinary,” said Makeig. “For centuries, humanists and scientists have studied music and language from different angles and for varied purposes at conservatories and universities around the globe. We now have an opportunity to gain new understanding by using new scientific tools including brain imaging and computation.”

“A thorough and systematic study of music cognition requires a truly multidisciplinary effort, bringing together neuroscience, psychology, cognitive science, linguistics, medicine and, of course, music. While the UC system has much invested in individuals, technologies, and methodologies for studying each of these separately, a systematic interdisciplinary effort to tackle music-cognition problems could enable UC to attain worldwide prominence in these research areas.”

 

Above information taken directly from full press release by Paul K. Mueller, which may be found here.

More information on MERCI may be found here.

CALL FOR PAPERS: Biennial Meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition

SMPC

 

The biennial meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition will be held at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, on August 1-5, 2015.

Submissions are welcome from a broad range of disciplines, including (but not limited) to Psychology, Neuroscience, Medicine, Education, Engineering, and Musicology. Abstracts for presentations should be no longer than 300 words and should describe the motivation, methodology, results, and implications to the degree that this information is available at the time of submission.  Empirical contributions should refer to the stimuli/corpus, methodology, and data collected.  Theoretical contributions are also welcome, provided that the connection to music perception and cognition is underscored through discussion of aims, methods, and/or results. Abstracts for proposed symposia are welcome and should include individual abstracts as well as a brief description of the theme.

Abstracts can now be submitted as follows:

  1. Prepare your abstract using this template smpc2015abstracttemplate. Formatting requirements are here:http://smpc2015.weebly.com/submitting-an-abstract.html
  1. Register as a new User and Create a CMT account for SMPC conference here:https://cmt.research.microsoft.com/SMPC2015
  1. Go to the drop-down menu “Select Your Role” and choose “Author”. Then click on “Create a new Paper submission” in the Author Console.
  1. Enter in the required information and upload formatted abstract.

Deadline for submissions is 11 pm CDT on February 2, 2015.

Chill-inducing music enhances altruism in humans

Chill-inducing music enhances altruism in humans                                                                                                                                       Frontiers in Psychology, published online October 2014

Fukui H, Toyoshima
Faculty of Education, Nara University of Education, Nara, Japan

Music is a universal feature of human cultures, and it has both fascinated and troubled many researchers. In this paper we show through the dictator game (DG) that an individual’s listening to preferred “chill-inducing” music may promote altruistic behavior that extends beyond the bounds of kin selection or reciprocal altruism. Participants were 22 undergraduate and postgraduate students who were divided into two groups, the in-group and the out-group, and they acted as dictators. The dictators listened to their own preferred “chill-inducing” music, to music they disliked, or to silence, and then played the DG. In this hypothetical experiment, the dictators were given real money (which they did not keep) and were asked to distribute it to the recipients, who were presented as stylized images of men and women displayed on a computer screen. The dictators played the DG both before and after listening to the music. Both male and female dictators gave more money after listening to their preferred music and less after listening to the music they disliked, whereas silence had no effect on the allocated amounts. The group to which the recipient belonged did not influence these trends. The results suggest that listening to preferred “chill-inducing” music promotes altruistic behavior.

T1

Table 1 – Mean allocation of each stimuli.

And for our Italian friends:

La musica è una caratteristica universale tra gli esseri umani, che da anni affascina e intriga i ricercatori. In questo studio i ricercatori dimostrano, attraverso il gioco del dittatore (DG), che quando un individuo ascolta la sua musica preferita, quella che induce i brividi, viene spinto verso comportamenti altruistici che vanno al di là del clan di appartenenza o dell’altruismo reciproco. Hanno partecipato allo studio 22 giovani tra studenti e laureati divisi in due gruppi, il gruppo “interno” e il gruppo “esterno”, e agivano da dittatori. I dittatori ascoltavano musica di loro gradimento o musica che non gradivano, oppure silenzio, prima di agire da dittatori. In questo esperimento ai dittatori veniva dato denaro reale che non potevano però tenere, ma che dovevano distribuire ai riceventi, presentati come immagini stilizzate di uomini e donne sullo schermo di un computer. I dittatori giocavano al DG sia prima sia dopo avere ascolto la musica. Sia i dittatori uomini che donne elargivano più denaro dopo avere ascoltato la loro musica preferita e meno dopo avere ascoltato musica sgradita, mentre il silenzio non aveva alcun effetto sulle somme che venivano allocate. Il gruppo al quale il ricevente apparteneva non influenzava questo trend. Gli Autori concludono che l’ascolto della musica preferita incoraggia comportamenti altruistici.

Fukui, H., & Toyoshima, K. (2014). Chill-inducing music enhances altruism in humans. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1215. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01215

For complete article, please see Frontiers in Psychology.

Editorial note: The views of the following statement contained in the full article, As is widely known, music has the ability to strongly affect a person’s emotions and sometimes even control them (Juslin and Sloboda, 2010),” does not necessarily represent the views of Pathways in Music.

Personal preferred ‘chill-inducing’ moment, in total recollection, occurs in the following piece, 3:32

The Paradox of Music-Evoked Sadness: A Survey of Personality and Reward

The paradox of music-evoked sadness: an online survey

Taruffi L, Koelsch S – Published October 20, 2014

Department of Educational Sciences & Psychology and Cluster of Excellence, “Languages of Emotion”, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany

This study explores listeners’ experience of music-evoked sadness. Sadness is typically assumed to be undesirable and is therefore usually avoided in everyday life. Yet the question remains: Why do people seek and appreciate sadness in music? We present findings from an online survey with both Western and Eastern participants (N?=?772). The survey investigates the rewarding aspects of music-evoked sadness, as well as the relative contribution of listener characteristics and situational factors to the appreciation of sad music. The survey also examines the different principles through which sadness is evoked by music, and their interaction with personality traits.

Results show 4 different rewards of music-evoked sadness: reward of imagination, emotion regulation, empathy, and no “real-life” implications. Moreover, appreciation of sad music follows a mood-congruent fashion and is greater among individuals with high empathy and low emotional stability. Surprisingly, nostalgia rather than sadness is the most frequent emotion evoked by sad music. Correspondingly, memory was rated as the most important principle through which sadness is evoked. Finally, the trait empathy contributes to the evocation of sadness via contagion, appraisal, and by engaging social functions.

The present findings indicate that emotional responses to sad music are multifaceted, are modulated by empathy, and are linked with a multidimensional experience of pleasure. These results were corroborated by a follow-up survey on happy music, which indicated differences between the emotional experiences resulting from listening to sad versus happy music. This is the first comprehensive survey of music-evoked sadness, revealing that listening to sad music can lead to beneficial emotional effects such as regulation of negative emotion and mood as well as consolation. Such beneficial emotional effects constitute the prime motivations for engaging with sad music in everyday life.

TABLE 2: Summary of the situations in which participants engage with sad music, and functions of listening to sad music in those circumstances.

TABLE 2: Summary of the situations in which participants engage with sad music, and functions of listening to sad music in those circumstances.

TABLE 6: Summary of the situations in which participants engage with happy music and functions of listening to happy music in those circumstances.

TABLE 6: Summary of the situations in which participants engage with happy music and functions of listening to happy music in those circumstances.

.

And for our Italian friends:

Questo studio esplora l’esperienza della tristezza indotta dall’ascolto della musica. La tristezza è comunemente considerata un’emozione negativa e pertanto evitata nella vita quotidiana. Rimane una questione aperta: perché quindi le persone apprezzano la musica triste? Gli Autori presentano i risultati di uno studio condotto online che ha coinvolto 722 partecipanti occidentali e orientali. Lo studio indaga gli effetti gratificanti delle emozioni tristi evocate dalla musica, nonché l’apporto relativo alle caratteristiche dell’ascoltatore e alle situazioni che contribuiscono all’apprezzamento della musica triste. Lo studio esamina inoltre i differenti principi attraverso i quali la tristezza viene evocata dalla musica e la sua interazione con i tratti della personalità.

I risultati mostrano quattro diversi aspetti gratificanti della musica triste: l’effetto dell’immaginazione, la regolazione delle emozioni, l’empatia e l’assenza di implicazioni nella vita reale. Inoltre, l’apprezzamento della musica triste segue una modalità congruente con l’umore ed è più grande tra gli individui con maggiore empatia e minore stabilità emotiva. Sorprendentemente la nostalgia piuttosto che la tristezza è l’emozione più frequente evocata dalla musica triste. Di conseguenza, la memoria è stata valutata come il principio più importante attraverso il quale l’emozione viene evocata dalla musica triste. Infine, il tratto di empatia contribuisce all’evocazione della tristezza attraverso il contagio, l’apprezzamento e il coinvolgimento delle funzioni sociali. I presenti risultati indicano che la risposta emotiva alla musica triste è sfaccettata, modulata dall’empatia e collegata a una esperienza multidimensionale del piacere.

Questi risultati sono stati corroborati da una ricerca successiva sulla musica allegra, che mostra differenze tra le esperienze emotive nell’ascolto di musica felice o triste. Questo è il primo studio comprensivo sulla tristezza evocata dalla musica, e rivela che l’ascolto della musica triste può portare benefici emotivi come la regolazione delle emozioni negative e dell’umore, oltre che della consolazione. Questi benefici emozionali costituiscono una ragione per ascoltare la musica triste durante la vita quotidiana.

Information provided by abstract – full study may be found here.

doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0110490.t002

(My favorite ‘sad’ video of all time below).