We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

The effect of memory in inducing pleasant emotions with musical and pictorial stimuli.

Maksimainen, J. and Wikgren, J. and Eerola, T. and Saarikallio, S. (2018) 'The effect of memory in inducing pleasant emotions with musical and pictorial stimuli.', Scientific reports., 8 (1). p. 17638.


Music is known to evoke emotions through a range of mechanisms, but empirical investigation into the mechanisms underlying different emotions is sparse. This study investigated how affective experiences to music and pictures vary when induced by personal memories or mere stimulus features. Prior to the experiment, participants were asked to select eight types of stimuli according to distinct criteria concerning the emotion induction mechanism and valence. In the experiment, participants (N = 30) evaluated their affective experiences with the self-chosen material. EEG was recorded throughout the session. The results showed certain interaction effects of mechanism (memory vs. stimulus features), emotional valence of the stimulus (pleasant vs. unpleasant), and stimulus modality (music vs. pictures). While effects were mainly similar in music and pictures, the findings suggest that when personal memories are involved, stronger positive emotions were experienced in the context of music, even when the music was experienced as unpleasant. Memory generally enhanced social emotions specifically in pleasant conditions. As for sadness and melancholia, stimulus features did not evoke negative experiences; however, these emotions increased strongly with the involvement of memory, particularly in the condition of unpleasant music. Analysis of EEG-data corroborated the findings by relating frontomedial theta activity to memory-evoking material.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution.
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Date accepted:07 November 2018
Date deposited:07 December 2018
Date of first online publication:05 December 2018
Date first made open access:No date available

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar