Undergraduate Psychology Research Methods Journal


The purpose of this study was to test whether or not audiences could experience emotions portrayed by dance performances. The researchers hypothesized that if the audience can identify the emotion being expressed, then they would experience that same emotion. The researchers also predicted that music would cause a greater level of emotional reaction to the performance. The participants watched two dance videos, one portraying a sad emotion and the other a love/passion emotion and rated their emotional reactions. After analyzing the data, the hypothesis was proven only partially correct. The participants who correctly identified the emotion portrayed in the video had a strong emotional reaction, but those who identified the emotion incorrectly had a strong emotional reaction as well. Contrary to expectations, the results showed that music did not influence the identification of the emotion of the dancers, and those participants who viewed the performances without music rated the experience of that emotion with more intensity than those who viewed the dance videos with music. These results could be due to the music causing cognitive overload, so those viewing the videos without music were able to focus more intently on the emotion being portrayed.

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