This study investigated whether emotional responses to a music genre could be predicted by stereotypes of the culture with which the music genre is associated. A two-part study was conducted. Participants listened to music samples from eight distinct genres: Fado, Koto, Heavy Metal, Hip Hop, Pop, Samba, Bolero, and Western Classical. They also described their spontaneous associations with the music and their spontaneous associations with the music’s related cultures: Portuguese, Japanese, Heavy Metal, Hip Hop, Pop, Brazilian, Cuban, and Western culture, respectively. Results indicated that a small number of specific emotions reported for a music genre were the same as stereotypical emotional associations of the corresponding culture. These include peace and calm for Koto music and Japanese culture, and anger and aggression for Heavy Metal music and culture. We explain these results through the stereotype theory of emotion in music (STEM), where an emotion filter is activated that simplifies the assessment process for a music genre that is not very familiar to the listener. Listeners familiar with a genre reported fewer stereotyped emotions than less familiar listeners. The study suggests that stereotyping competes with the psychoacoustic cues in the expression of emotion.
- evaluative conditioning
- musical culture