Scientific Reports volume 12, Article number: 2676
The effects of music on bodily movement and feelings, such as when people are dancing or engaged in physical activity, are well-documented—people may move in response to the sound cues, feel powerful, less tired. How sounds and bodily movements relate to create such effects? Here we deconstruct the problem and investigate how different auditory features affect people’s body-representation and feelings even when paired with the same movement. In three experiments, participants executed a simple arm raise synchronized with changing pitch in simple tones (Experiment 1), rich musical sounds (Experiment 2) and within different frequency ranges (Experiment 3), while we recorded indirect and direct measures on their movement, body-representations and feelings. Changes in pitch influenced people’s general emotional state as well as the various bodily dimensions investigated—movement, proprioceptive awareness and feelings about one’s body and movement. Adding harmonic content amplified the differences between ascending and descending sounds, while shifting the absolute frequency range had a general effect on movement amplitude, bodily feelings and emotional state. These results provide new insights in the role of auditory and musical features in dance and exercise, and have implications for the design of sound-based applications supporting movement expression, physical activity, or rehabilitation.