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      How we remember the emotional intensity of past musical experiences

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          Listening to music usually elicits emotions that can vary considerably in their intensity over the course of listening. Yet, after listening to a piece of music, people are easily able to evaluate the music's overall emotional intensity. There are two different hypotheses about how affective experiences are temporally processed and integrated: (1) all moments' intensities are integrated, resulting in an averaged value; (2) the overall evaluation is built from specific single moments, such as the moments of highest emotional intensity (peaks), the end, or a combination of these. Here we investigated what listeners do when building an overall evaluation of a musical experience. Participants listened to unknown songs and provided moment-to-moment ratings of experienced intensity of emotions. Subsequently, they evaluated the overall emotional intensity of each song. Results indicate that participants' evaluations were predominantly influenced by their average impression but that, in addition, the peaks and end emotional intensities contributed substantially. These results indicate that both types of processes play a role: All moments are integrated into an averaged value but single moments might be assigned a higher value in the calculation of this average.

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          Most cited references 39

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          Feeling and thinking: Preferences need no inferences.

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            WHEN MORE PAIN IS PREFERRED TO LESS:. Adding a Better End

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              Patients' memories of painful medical treatments: real-time and retrospective evaluations of two minimally invasive procedures.

              Patients' memories of painful medical procedures may influence their decisions about future treatments, yet memories are imperfect and susceptible to bias. We recorded in real-time the intensity of pain experienced by patients undergoing colonoscopy (n = 154) and lithotripsy (n = 133). We subsequently examined patients' retrospective evaluations of the total pain of the procedure, and related these evaluations to the real-time recording obtained during the experience. We found that individuals varied substantially in the total amount of pain they remembered. Patients' judgments of total pain were strongly correlated with the peak intensity of pain (P < 0.005) and with the intensity of pain recorded during the last 3 min of the procedure (P < 0.005). Despite substantial variation in the duration of the experience, lengthy procedures were not remembered as particularly aversive. We suggest that patients' memories of painful medical procedures largely reflect the intensity of pain at the worst part and at the final part of the experience.

                Author and article information

                Front Psychol
                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychol.
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                15 August 2014
                : 5
                Department of Psychology, Chemnitz University of Technology Chemnitz, Germany
                Author notes

                Edited by: Andrew Kemp, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil

                Reviewed by: Andrew Kemp, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil; Frederick Streeter Barrett, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, USA; Ruth Wells, University of Sydney, Australia

                *Correspondence: Thomas Schäfer, Department of Psychology, Chemnitz University of Technology, 09107 Chemnitz, Germany e-mail: thomas.schaefer@

                This article was submitted to Emotion Science, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

                Copyright © 2014 Schäfer, Zimmermann and Sedlmeier.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 3, Equations: 0, References: 40, Pages: 10, Words: 8536
                Original Research Article

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry

                duration neglect, temporal integration, peak–end, intensity, music


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