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The influence of film music on moral judgments of movie scenes and felt emotions

Steffens, Jochen

Music can modulate perceptions, actions, and judgments in everyday situations. The aim of this study was to investigate a potential influence of music on moral judgments in the context of film reception. In the course of an online experiment, 252 participants were assigned to three different experimental conditions (no, positive, or negative music). Participants were requested to assess actions shown in two 2–3-minute audio-visual film excerpts with regard to their perceived moral rightness and to report induced emotions after watching the film clips. Afterwards, they were asked to complete the MFQ-30 questionnaire measuring the foundations of their moral judgments. Results revealed that in one of four cases (i.e. happiness in film excerpt 1), music had a significant effect on recipients’ emotions and also indirectly influenced their moral judgment. In three of four cases, however, the intended emotion induction through film music did not succeed, and thus a significant indirect influence of music on moral judgment was not found. Furthermore, associations between moral foundations, perceived rightness of action, and induced emotions were observed. Future lab studies are indicated to investigate potential moderating influences of the experimental environment on emotion induction through film music.
Published in: Psychology of Music, 10.1177/0305735618779443, SAGE Publications
  • Dieser Beitrag ist mit Zustimmung des Rechteinhabers aufgrund einer (DFG geförderten) Allianz- bzw. Nationallizenz frei zugänglich.
  • This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.