Skip to main content Accessibility help

Music as a dishonest signal

  • Sandra E. Trehub (a1)


Instead of the discrete emotions approach adopted by Juslin & Västfjäll (J&V), the present perspective considers musical signals as functioning primarily to influence listeners in ways that are favorable to the signaler. Viewing music through the lens of social-emotional regulation fits with typical uses of music in everyday contexts and with the cross-cultural use of music for infant affect regulation.



Hide All
Bachorowski, J. & Owren, M. (2003) Sounds of emotion: The production and perception of affect-related vocal acoustics. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1000:244–65.
Balkwill, L. L. & Thompson, W. F. (1999) A cross-cultural investigation of the perception of emotion in music: Psychophysical and cultural cues. Music Perception 17:4364.
Barrett, L. F. (2006) Solving the emotion paradox: Categorization and the experience of emotion. Personality and Social Psychology Review 10:2046.
Bergeson, T. R. & Trehub, S. E. (2007) Signature tunes in mothers' speech to infants. Infant Behavior and Development 30:648–54.
Dawkins, R. (1989) The selfish gene. Oxford University Press.
DeNora, T. (2000) Music in everyday life. Cambridge University Press.
Ellsworth, P. C. (2003) Confusion, concentration, and other emotions of interest: Commentary on Rozin and Cohen (2003). Emotion 3:8185.
Ellsworth, P. C. & Scherer, K. R. (2003) Appraisal processes in emotion. In: Handbook of affective sciences, ed. Davidson, R. J., Goldsmith, H. & Scherer, K. R., pp. 572–95. Oxford University Press.
Fernald, A. (1991) Prosody in speech to children: Prelinguistic and linguistic functions. Annals of Child Development 8:4380.
Izard, C. E. (2007) Basic emotions, natural kinds, emotion schemas, and a new paradigm. Perspectives on Psychological Science 2:260–80.
Juslin, P. N. & Laukka, P. (2003) Communication of emotions in vocal expression and music performance: Different channels, same code? Psychological Bulletin 129:770814.
Nakata, T. & Trehub, S. E. (2004) Infants' responsiveness to maternal speech and singing. Infant Behavior and Development 27:455–64.
Russell, J. A. (2003) Core affect and the psychological construction of emotion. Psychological Review 110:145–72.
Scherer, K. R. (2000a) Emotions as episodes of subsystem synchronization driven by nonlinear appraisal processes. In: Emotion, development, and self-organization: Dynamic systems approaches to emotional development, ed. Lewis, M. D. & Granic, I., pp. 7099. Cambridge University Press.
Shenfield, T., Trehub, S. E. & Nakata, T. (2003) Maternal singing modulates infant arousal. Psychology of Music 31:365–75.
Silvia, P. J. (2008) Interest–The curious emotion. Current Directions in Psychological Science 17:5760.
Singh, L., Morgan, J. L. & Best, C. T. (2002) Infants' listening preferences: Baby talk or happy talk? Infancy 3:365–94.
Sloboda, J. A. & O'Neill, S. A. (2001) Emotions in everyday listening to music. In: Music and emotion: Theory and research, ed. Juslin, P. N. & Sloboda, J. A., pp. 415–29. Oxford University Press.
Tomkins, S. S. (1962) Affect, imagery, consciousness, vol. 1: The positive affects. Springer.
Trainor, L. J. (1996) Infant preferences for infant-directed versus noninfant-directed play songs and lullabies. Infant Behavior and Development 19:8392.
Trehub, S. E. & Trainor, L. J. (1998) Singing to infants: Lullabies and play songs. Advances in Infancy Research 12:4377.
Tsai, J. L. (2007) Ideal affect: Cultural causes and behavioral consequences. Perspectives on Psychological Science 2:242–59.
Werker, J. F. & McLeod, P. J. (1989) Infant preference for both male and female infant-directed talk: A developmental study of attentional and affective responsiveness. Canadian Journal of Psychology 43:230–46.
Zentner, M. R., Grandjean, D. & Scherer, K. R. (in press) Emotions evoked by the sound of music: Characterization, classification, and measurement. Emotion 8(4).


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed