Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Danny Snow 

MSc Cyberpsychology

I'm a musician and lecturer from Dublin; I have recently completed the MSc in Cyberpsychology.

Music’s Interaction with Virtual Environments: Emotion and Perception

Participants listened to a single piece of music through headphones whilst viewing one of two video conditions (which you can see above) that varied in speed and repetitiveness; there was also an audio-only condition. Following the viewing of the video, participants answered questions about their emotional and perceptual responses to the music.


The emotional and perceptual impact of music on visuals has been widely researched. This study explored the opposite relationship and was designed to determine if different visual conditions would influence the perception of and emotional response to a piece of music using a music-specific emotional scale(GEMS 25). Furthermore, the study investigated if different combinations of visuals and music would be perceived as congruent when there was no synchronisation attempted.


I found that visual stimuli impact emotional responses to music but did not influence perception. Additionally, the emotional influence was only significant within one category of the music emotion scale (Peacefulness).
Video conditions were perceived as congruent despite there being no intentional synchronisation.
The experiment looked at complex interactions, and therefore several factors require further investigation. Still, it suggests that digitally manipulated visuals could be an important consideration when investigating the emotional response to music in several settings such as games, music videos and live performances.