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MIB guest talk - Marco Costa and Leonardo Bonetti

Associate professor from the University of Bologna Marco Costa and MIB guest researcher Leonardo Bonetti give talk entitled: "Individual differences and cross-modal interactions in musical mode perception and evaluation"

29.03.2016 | Hella Kastbjerg

Dato tor 07 apr
Tid 14:00 15:00
Sted Meeting room, 4th floor, building 10G, MIB/AUH, Nørrebrogade 44

Marco Costa

Leonardo Bonetti


Individual differences for the appreciation of minor versus major musical stimuli has been mainly studied in relation to personality traits, with a particular attention to the enjoyment of sad music. Openness to experience, empathy, music empathizing and low emotional stability are the best personality predictors of the appreciation of sad music. Bonetti and Costa (2016) have investigated the role of more general cognitive abilities on this appreciation. In particular, they tested the association between preference for the minor mode and the level of fluid intelligence as assessed by the Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices, finding a positive relation between fluid intelligence and preference for the minor mode in musical stimuli. This preference was also associated to openness to experience as personality trait, and a gloomy mood, emphasizing the role of mood-congruency on the appreciation of sad musical stimuli.
A second topic of the talk will focus on cross-modal interactions between musical mode and other sensory systems. Costa (2012) showed that major and minor chords could selectively influence ongoing cognitive tasks using an affective priming paradigm. Participants evaluated target words faster if the words were preceded by a congruent value chord (minor chord – sad word, major chord – happy word) as opposed to affectively incongruent chord-word pairs (minor chord – happy word, major chord – sad word). Major and minor chords did not act as priming when the affective target words were replaced with affective target pictures. This phenomenon is probably due to the highest attentional capture and arousal induction by affective laden pictures in comparison to affective laden words.
In another study we investigated the emergence of major-minor mode discrimination and evaluation in samples of 4, 5, 6 years old participants. These children were presented with pairs of chords or melodies differing for musical mode only. They were requested to assess for each pair the following bipolar scales: happy-sad, pleasant-unpleasant, up-down, light-dark, warm color – cold color. The results showed a musical mode discrimination emergence at 5 years, with robust cross-modal associations linking musical mode to spatial and visual features.


Intelligence and Musical Mode Preference

Mode and Affective Priming


Leonardo Bonetti was born in Bologna on 16 December 1992. He started the study of guitar at the age of 11 and he graduated with top marks at Conservatory “G.B. Martini” of Bologna in the July 2013. Moreover he graduated with honors in Psychology at the University of Bologna discussing thesis: “Fluid intelligence and preference for major/minor musical mode: an experimental study”. In the year 2014 he has been Professor at Conservatory “G.B. Martini” of Bologna. At present he is involved in studies and research about Psychology of Music and Environmental Psychology in the University of Bologna. He won the SEMPRE Conference Award, at ESCOM 2015 – Manchester, dedicated to young first authors of a scientific paper.

Marco Costa is associate professor at the Department of Psychology, University of Bologna, Italy. Head of the master course in Applied cognitive psychology and head of the Laboratory of Environmental Psychology at the Department of Psychology, University of Bologna. MSc in Experimental Psychology at the University of Padua (1996), Italy. Ph.D. at the University of Bologna (2000). Has collaborated for training and research with Prof. Niels Birbaumer at the Institut für Medizinische Psychologie und Veraltensneurobiologie. University of Tuebingen; Prof. Andrew Steptoe at the University College London; Prof. Rainer Schandry at the Institut für Psychologie - Biologische Psychologie. University of Munich.  Major research interests include psychology of music with a particular emphasis on mode perception, and environmental psychology.

Forskning, Alle grupper, Musicinthebrain, Musicinthebrain