Effect of music emotion on mu and beta oscillations

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That music elicits motor signals has been suggested as the key to understanding how emotion may be experienced from it. While previous studies have demonstrated that music both induces movement and affects ongoing motor activities, little is known about the effect of its emotional content on neural-motor representation and how such an effect may be modified by concurrent movement. To fill this gap, we asked participants to tap their right index finger following flashes of a dot (movement) or just to count the flashes silently (no-movement) while listening to happy versus emotionally neutral music, when EEG was recorded. Results showed that happy music induced greater mu (8–13 Hz) suppression than neutral music in the no-movement but not the movement condition. For beta oscillations (16–24 Hz), happy music induced greater suppression than neutral music irrespective of concurrent movement. These findings suggest a close association between music emotion and motor representation at a neural level, supporting theories stipulating that emotion in music is experienced through motor representation, such as embodied music cognition and the Shared Affective Motion Experience model. Copyright © 2023 The Author(s).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1489-1500
JournalPsychology of Music
Issue number5
Early online dateJan 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


Wang, Y., Siu, T. S. C., & Cheung, H. (2023). Effect of music emotion on mu and beta oscillations. Psychology of Music, 51(5), 1489-1500. https://doi.org/10.1177/03057356221145960


  • Music
  • Emotion
  • Embodied cognition
  • Motor representation
  • EEG


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