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Measuring the skin conductance of musical experience

How do lie detectors help music researchers? In this video, we look at the link between galvanic skin response and emotion.
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So far, we have been looking at different types of methods and technologies for studying music in related movements of various kinds. And here we are sitting in Hans’ office. And he has one particular type of technology that he has been using in his research. So Hans, what is this? This is a skin conductance sensor that measures the electricity in the sweat of the skin. But what it does, it measures your energy or your engagement, the neural activity. It’s like a lie detector, actually. Yeah, it is kind of a lie detector, yes. So if you suddenly– [GASPS]– you will probably see that there will be an increase in the energy.
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But I have used it for people when they listen to music to see where in the music they get these specific feelings of, like, chills or goosebumps, and to see if that also relates to verticality, to places where they are kind of uplifted, or if they had a specific kind of [GASPS]. And then you can actually see it too. Then you can actually see it. I have one person that was very, very– you can see he was listening to a– and here’s a fantastic increase in both dynamic, in the pitch, melody goes up as and he pushed it eight times to tell us that, “oh”, something is really happening because he was told to push the sensor button.
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And then you can see, 1, 2, 3, 4 5, 6, 7, 8 times. Then you could just see the increase of his skin conductance. So it relates to the music and the strength of the music. So that also relates to the body and body movement, since this is kind of the feeling of directions upwards, quite amazing. So in many ways, you can say that this is yet another method for studying music, empirically, through different types of technologies. Yeah, definitely, especially with places where there are changes in the music, there’s something specific happening in the music. So in many ways, you can say that this type of system is different than a motion capture system where you measure the body’s motion.
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This is kind of, similar in a way, to studying, for example, muscle tension. But here we are looking at then the skin conductance, which is also saying something about our experience of music. [YELLS] [CHUCKLES]

In this video we explore a biosensor for measuring skin conductance.

This sensor measures the galvanic skin response of the hand, which has been shown to correlate to emotional state. The same type of sensor is often used in so-called “lie detectors”.

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