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Conference by Dr. Bruno Gingras

Pupillary responses index music-induced arousal

Abstract: Music-induced emotions are conveyed by a variety of acoustical cues and are associated with measurable psychophysiological changes. In this talk, I will present three related studies, all using the same set of musical excerpts, which link music-induced emotions, acoustical features, and pupillary responses. In an initial study, we found that two acoustical parameters, spectral flux and spectral entropy, predicted most of the variance in participants’ subjective arousal ratings (Gingras, Marin, & Fitch, 2013). A subsequent study investigated pupillary responses to music, showing that larger pupil dilations were associated with higher arousal ratings and with a greater self-reported role of music in life (Gingras, Marin, Puig-Waldmüller, & Fitch, 2015). In a third study, we observed that the magnitude of the pupillary dilation in response to an excerpt is predicted by its spectral entropy as well as by its MP3 compression ratio, a reliable predictor of subjective arousal. Altogether, these findings motivate further research on the link between autonomic responses to music and affective and cognitive processes.

Bio: After completing an M.Sc. in molecular biology, Bruno Gingras turned to music theory, graduating with a Ph.D. from McGill University in 2008. Following postdoctoral fellowships at the Department of Computing at Goldsmiths (London, UK) and the Department of Cognitive Biology of the University of Vienna (Austria), he is currently a University Assistant at the Institute of Psychology of the University of Innsbruck (Austria). His research interests include music-induced emotions, individuality and expressivity in music performance, as well as biomusicology.


Oct 27 2016


4:00 pm - 5:00 pm




1430 boul. Mont Royal

BRAMS (International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research) is a unique centre dedicated to research excellence in the study of music and auditory cognition with a focus on neuroscience. The research centre is located in Montreal and jointly affiliated with the University of Montreal and McGill University.


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