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Is Emotion more strongly affected by Gender or Motion?

Authors Lehner, J.
Year 2013
Thesis Type Master's thesis
Topic Embodiment
Keywords Perception of Emotion, Gender Differences, Biological Gender, Social Gender, Body Movement, Motion Capture
Abstract Prejudices and social norms often affect our value judgements – especially with respect to gender stereotypes. Emotions are mainly communicated via body movement. Based on these suppositions and sociological and music-psychological studies, this thesis explores (biological and social) gender-specific perception of gesturally expressed emotions in musical performance of pianists. The aim of this work was to investigate the influence of the biological gender of musicians on the perception of intensity of four emotion categories (anger, fear, happiness, and sadness). For this purpose an experiment has been conducted with 32 students. A total of 9 different silent videos of pianists playing were presented to the participants: The videos were motion capture recordings of 3 different pianists' upper bodies playing in 3 different expression levels. All videos were played 5 times, labelled twice with a female and a male name, and once with a gender neutral name. The hypothesised impact of the labels couldn't be validated, instead, the results have shown with high statistical significance that expressive motion affects our perception of emotions much more than the labelling. Moreover, on the evidence presented, no clear conclusion can be drawn regarding the sub-theses that the rating of emotion depends on the pianists' biological gender and/or the participants' biological or social gender.
Supervisors Eckel, G.