The Relationship Between Music and Emotion, as Conveyed by Prosody, in Individuals With Williams Syndrome
This study examined the relationship between musical training and the emotional comprehension of prosodic sentences in a special population, individuals with Williams syndrome. Many of the stimuli and procedures of Thompson, Schellenberg, and Husain (2004), from their research on music and emotion, were replicated in the present study. Individuals with Williams syndrome were compared to musical and non-musical chronological age matches and musical and non-musical emotional comprehension matches. All participants were asked to identify a specific emotion (happy, sad, fearful, or angry) from facial expression pictures, English sentences, and tonal sentences. All responses were analyzed by task with a five (group) by four (emotion) mixed group ANOVA including mean accuracy and mean reaction time analyses. The study specifically addressed whether or not musical training was sufficient to overcome general emotional comprehension difficulties in individuals with Williams syndrome. Analyses revealed that accuracy and reaction time scores varied across emotion as well as group. No relationship between musical training and emotional comprehension was found and individuals with Williams syndrome performed more poorly than expected on the prosodic sentence tasks.