Affective Response To Music As A Function Of Familiarity
Herbert E. Krugman
The College of the City Of New York
Recordings of classical and of swing music, so chosen as to have initially very slight affective value, were played once per seek for eight weeks to seven subjects. Shifts in the directions of greater pleasantness preponderated over those in the direction of the unpleasantness; this was true both of classical and of swing music. A questionnaire on the music preference given before and after the experiment supported out tentative conclusion that positive affective shift can be produced by sheer repetition of musical experience, regardless of the classical or nonclassical character of music.
Affective Response to Music As A Function of Familiarity
Many acquired likes and dislikes appear to arise under circumstances differing greatly in their dynamics form those which obtain in conditioning. Whereas drive-satisfaction is obtained, there appear to be many acquired affective satisfaction value of the original stimulus; the process of undoubtedly very complexes has been studied clinically and experimentally, under various names, for a considerable period. Our purpose here is not to settle the whole theoretical question of a broad nonspecific craving progressively narrows down to a craving for that specific object that has repeatedly been the satisfier. Data might show a progressive increase in specificity in wants, so that one desires not “food in general,” but meatball and spaghetti; not “music in general,” xz but Marche Slave. The question is whether experimentally demonstrate the reality of this process which following Janet we may call canalization. As the process goes on, we should expect the positive affective tone of the stimulus to increase, and its fixation to become more difficult to break. The strength of such a fixation would appear to depend on three factors: (a) the intensity of the particular drive in action, (b) the satisfying value of the stimulus, (c)the number of reputations of the whole experience. One might easily fail to observe the phenomenon through overlooking some of those factors, e.g., by employing stimuli which, for an individual subject, are not reliable drive-satisfiers.
There is, however, some experimental evidence in support of the hypothesis. A. H. Maslow (4), using vari-colored clerical materials and pictures, established among a group of clerical workers specific preferences through “familiarization.” The positive result may seem surprising because such materials usually have little or no affective intensity. M. Lukomnik (3) undertook to canalize 18 adult to five strange food tastes. Her most significant results indication canalization were obtained when the subjects had fasted previous to the experiment. Though she did establish a strong hunger drive in her subjects, she erred by allowing them only to taste the food instead of eat it. In this manner she greatly reduced the consummator satisfying response, and her results, though significant, were not nearly as striking as they might well have been. Musical tastes represent a fertile field for such experimentation. H. T. Moore (5) employed a series of dissonant and consonant musical patterns varying in complexity. Progressive Mastery of complex patterns induced a positive shift in affective tone. If complexity of music is the key to affective quality, it is understandable that the life-span of the classics is so much greater. However, it is also true that popular selections are played more often in their limited life-span; ultimate rgrssion towards an indifferent point may therefore take place faster. At a later date Moore and Gilliand (6) played a series of jazz and classical selections to an unslected group of students for 25 weekly periods. Though the group liked the classical slelections better at the last seesion and no changes occurred for the jazz, the...
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