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Listeners can recognize emotions such as sadness and joy in singers’ voices, even absent linguistic and melodic cues, finds research in Psychomusicology:Music, Mind, and Brain. Researchers asked eight opera singers to sing the standard musical scale with the meaningless words “ne kal ibam soud molen,” and to try to convey one of nine emotions through their voices: anger, despair, fear, joy, love, pride, sadness, serenity and tenderness. Later, the researchers played those recordings for an international sample of 500 listeners that included respondents from New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States. Overall, listeners identified the intended emotion 33 percent of the time–significantly better than chance (11.1 percent). However, some emotions were more universally recognized than others. Participants from all countries recognized anger, fear, joy, pride, sadness and tenderness with better-than-chance accuracy, but not contempt, love and serenity. (Monitor on Psychology)

Susie Bean Gives