Science University Research Symposium (SURS)

Publication Date

Fall 11-15-2023


Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Psychological Science, Department of

SURS Faculty Advisor

Dr. Carole Scherling (

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation



Music cross-culturally occupies a central part of day-to-day living (Trehub et al., 2015). Research has demonstrated music’s consistent ability to modulate emotional states, through the investigation of properties like tempo and key (Res, 2011; Bella, 2001; Jongwan,, 2018; Schellenberg, 2010). Heartbeat is a steady rhythm that each human alive and well experiences daily, and heart rate, specifically the resting heart rate, has been suggested to set a baseline rhythm that may influence perception of musical valence (Koelsch & Jancke, 2015). The current study aims to investigate this hypothesis by establishing a resting heart rate level and modulating the speed of musical excerpts in both major and minor keys to be either increased or decreased by 5bpm. Forty-two participants listened to a randomized playlist presenting 6 musical pieces, with two of resting heart rate tempo, two of increased tempo and two of decreased tempo, each condition presenting one major and one minor key piece. For each piece, participants utilized a 7-point Likert scale to judge their emotional experience (high rating indicates a more positive judgement). Results are currently being analyzed. The work conducted in the current study reflects models represented by the previous work and is intended to further explore musical qualities and effects on emotional perception of music.



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