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An embodied approach to testing musical empathy in subjects with an autism spectrum disorder

Leen De Bruyn (UGent) , Dirk Moelants (UGent) and Marc Leman (UGent)
(2011) MUSIC AND MEDICINE. 4(1). p.28-36
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Abstract
We present an empirical and qualitative study testing musical empathic ability in participants with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Four experiments requiring an increasing level of empathy with music, from synchronization, and attuning to emotional empathy, were carried out, using kinematic devices for measuring embodied listening responses and a verbal emotion attribution task. Results suggest that people with ASD have a corporeal understanding of the affective features of music, since they are able to mirror structural and even affective features of the music into corporeal articulations. However, this corporeal understanding does not give them a straightforward access to the emotional content of the music. The participants with ASD seemed to rely on disembodied cognitive processes to attribute affects to music.
Keywords
embodiment, autism, musical empathy, affect attribution, music

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Chicago
De Bruyn, Leen, Dirk Moelants, and Marc Leman. 2011. “An Embodied Approach to Testing Musical Empathy in Subjects with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Music and Medicine 4 (1): 28–36.
APA
De Bruyn, L., Moelants, D., & Leman, M. (2011). An embodied approach to testing musical empathy in subjects with an autism spectrum disorder. MUSIC AND MEDICINE, 4(1), 28–36.
Vancouver
1.
De Bruyn L, Moelants D, Leman M. An embodied approach to testing musical empathy in subjects with an autism spectrum disorder. MUSIC AND MEDICINE. 2011;4(1):28–36.
MLA
De Bruyn, Leen, Dirk Moelants, and Marc Leman. “An Embodied Approach to Testing Musical Empathy in Subjects with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.” MUSIC AND MEDICINE 4.1 (2011): 28–36. Print.
@article{1938626,
  abstract     = {We present an empirical and qualitative study testing musical empathic ability in participants with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Four experiments requiring an increasing level of empathy with music, from synchronization, and attuning to emotional empathy, were carried out, using kinematic devices for measuring embodied listening responses and a verbal emotion attribution task. Results suggest that people with ASD have a corporeal understanding of the affective features of music, since they are able to mirror structural and even affective features of the music into corporeal articulations. However, this corporeal understanding does not give them a straightforward access to the emotional content of the music. The participants with ASD seemed to rely on disembodied cognitive processes to attribute affects to music.},
  author       = {De Bruyn, Leen and Moelants, Dirk and Leman, Marc},
  issn         = {1943-8621},
  journal      = {MUSIC AND MEDICINE},
  keyword      = {embodiment,autism,musical empathy,affect attribution,music},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {28--36},
  title        = {An embodied approach to testing musical empathy in subjects with an autism spectrum disorder},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1943862111415116},
  volume       = {4},
  year         = {2011},
}

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