The impact of disfavoured music on affect complexity in young adults

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4 Scopus citations


The notion that a positive and negative affect can co-exist is described as affect complexity. According to the Dynamic Model of Affect, stressful events decrease affect complexity. This study examined whether disliked music acts on its listeners in a similar manner to stressful events. Young adults (N = 397), 191 non-fans of the heavy metal genre and 206 fans of this genre, were exposed to a popular heavy metal song. Positive and negative emotions were measured before and after the exposure. While the affect complexity of non-fans decreased after listening to the heavy metal song, it remained stable among the fans of this genre (β = -.42). Moreover, the level of negative emotions increased and the level of positive emotions decreased among non-fans, whereas among the fans the level of positive emotions increased. Furthermore, the increase in negative emotions occurred in high arousal emotions among the non-fans. The findings of this study provide evidence of the differential impact of music on the listeners' affect complexity, and on how this impact is associated with music preference. Since affect complexity is an important asset strongly and positively associated with people's well-being, these findings justify further exploration of the impact of music on the affect complexity of its consumers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)864-879
Number of pages16
JournalPsychology of Music
Issue number4
Early online date20 Jul 2015
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2015.


  • "problem music"
  • Dynamic Model of Affect
  • disliked music
  • emotional complexity
  • heavy metal music


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