eISSN: 2084-9885
ISSN: 1896-6764
Neuropsychiatria i Neuropsychologia/Neuropsychiatry and Neuropsychology
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vol. 10
Original paper

Describing emotions evoked by classical music in people with right temporal lobe damage

Dorota Szydłowska
Aleksandra Rutkowska

Neuropsychiatria i Neuropsychologia 2015; 10, 3–4: 116–120
Online publish date: 2016/02/05
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Introduction: Right temporal lobe function is associated with integration of sensory perception, emotional and memory processes. There are few studies about its role and consequences of its dysfunction related to processing emotions using material other than human faces, and the fewest of them are about music. Patients with right temporal lobe damage demonstrated deficiency in recognition of fear or differentiation of fear from other emotions.

Aim of the study: To measure the influence of right temporal lobe damage on describing emotions evoked by classical music.

Material and methods: The study included 31 patients with diagnosed right temporal lobe damage and 31 people from a control group without brain damage selected with Mill’s method of difference. An experiment was designed for the purpose of the study and allowed us to specify how patients describe emotions in musical pieces. Student’s t distribution test was used.

Results: The results showed that the patients with right temporal lobe damage use fewer words to describe music and describe emotions in music as negative less often than healthy people. They use words for physical properties of sound more often. No significant difference with positive or neutral words was observed.

Conclusions: Patients with right temporal lobe damage demonstrate difficulties with negative emotion recognition in music but have no deficits in describing positive emotions and neutral words. They describe music by its physical properties, but they do it in an inconsistent way, which may be the result of memory deficiency.

right temporal lobe, music, emotions

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