The Influence of the Moving Image on Music-Induced Emotions


  • Elias Gram-Nilsen University of Oslo, Department of Musicology, Norway
  • Jonna K. Vuoskoski University of Oslo, Department of Musicology, Norway; University of Oslo, Department of Psychology, Norway; RITMO Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Rhythm, Time and Motion, University of Oslo, Norway


music, moving image, emotion, awe, being moved, cross-modal effects


The combination of music and the moving image is prevalent in our society, occurring in visual art forms and media such as movies, music videos, and commercials. The relationship between the two has received much interest in existing research, but the focus has mainly been on the influence that music may have on the experience of the moving image. The present study adopts the reverse approach, and examines the potential impact the moving image may have on emotions felt and perceived while listening to music. Sixty-six participants were presented with three music excerpts that were introduced either alone or paired with one of two videos aimed to elicit strong emotions (either awe or being moved). The music excerpts were played a second time (without visual accompaniment) to investigate whether a possible influence of previously presented visual information was persistent. The results revealed that the moving image did have an intensifying effect on emotions induced (both awe and being moved) while listening to music. A significant negative effect on perceived valence and enjoyment was found for the least congruent music & video pairing. Interestingly, this incongruent pairing had the most persistent influence, being the only significant carry-over effect during the second presentation of music alone.