Virtual Distance and Soundstage, and their Impacts on Experienced Emotional Valence

Justin Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Research from animal ethology and affective neuroscience suggest that a listener’s perceived distance from a signal source can alter their experienced emotional valence of the music. Furthermore, appraisal theories of emotion suggest that emotionally valenced responses will diverge according to the type of emotion presented. For these exploratory investigations, subjects listen to selected musical excerpts on speakers in combination with a tactile transducer attached to their chair. The listening sessions are recorded on EEG supported by subject feedback responses. My hypothesis is that musical stimuli should cause stronger valenced responses in the nearfield than at a distance. Thus, music experienced as being negatively valenced at a distance should be more negatively valenced in nearfield, and music that is experienced as having a positive valence at a distance should be more positively valenced in nearfield. The results are largely consistent with this hypothesis, but can also be found to be impacted by the original soundstage of the musical excerpts presented.
Original languageEnglish
Book seriesDansk Musikforskning Online
Issue numberSærnummer 2015
Pages (from-to)101-116
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • emotion
  • empirical musicology
  • virtual distance
  • EEG
  • Alpha lateralization

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