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Perception of the Major/Minor Distinction: IV. Emotional Connotations in Young Children

Marianna Pinchot Kastner and Robert G. Crowder
Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Vol. 8, No. 2 (Winter, 1990), pp. 189-201
DOI: 10.2307/40285496
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40285496
Page Count: 13
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Perception of the Major/Minor Distinction: IV. Emotional Connotations in Young Children
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Abstract

Thirty-eight children between ages 3 and 12 listened to 12 short musical passages derived from a counterbalanced 2 × 2 arrangement of (1) major versus minor modes and (2) harmonized versus simple melodic realizations of these modes. For each passage, they pointed to one of four schematic faces chosen to symbolize happy, sad, angry, and contented facial expressions. The main result was that all children, even the youngest, showed a reliable positive-major/negative-minor connotation, thus conforming to the conventional stereotype. The possible contributions of native and experiential factors to this behavior are discussed.

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