Music moves us. Its kinetic power is the foundation of human behaviors as diverse as dance, romance, lullabies, and the military march. Despite its significance, the music-movement relationship is poorly understood. We present an empirical method for testing whether music and movement share a common structure that affords equivalent and universal emotional expressions.
Our method uses a computer program that can generate matching examples of music and movement from a single set of features: rate, jitter (regularity of rate), direction, step size, and dissonance/visual spikiness. We applied our method in two experiments, one in the United States and another in an isolated tribal village in Cambodia.
These experiments revealed three things: () each emotion was represented by a unique combination of features, ( ) each combination expressed the same emotion in both music and movement, and ( ) this common structure between music and movement was evident within and across cultures.
via (Touch Me!)