- Looking at the (mis) fortunes of others while listening to music
- Psychology of Music
- Volume | Issue number
- 42 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
The present study examined whether eye gaze behaviour regarding pictures of other people in fortunate (positive) and unfortunate (negative) circumstances is influenced by background music. Sixtythree participants were randomly assigned to three background music conditions (happy music, sad music, or no music) where pairs of negative-positive pictures were shown. Participants’ eye movements were recorded throughout the experiment to assess distinct phases of attentional processes, i.e., initial orienting to, and subsequent engagement with, visual scenes. We found that these attentional processes were not uniformly influenced by the music. Music background had no effect on initial visual attention but played a relevant role in guiding subsequent eye gaze behaviour by maintaining attention in a mood-congruent fashion: sad music enhanced attentional bias to visual images of others in unfortunate circumstances, whereas happy music contributed to longer gazes at images of others in fortunate circumstances. These results support the notion that attention is affected by background music and reflected by eye gaze behaviour.
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