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S39 Music and CI II
Perception of emotions and movements in music by children with cochlear implants
Driscoll V.D. , Whipple C.S. , Gfeller K.E.
, Oleson J.J.
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Otolaryngology, Iowa City, United States, 2University of Iowa, School of Music, Iowa City, United
States, 3University of Iowa, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Iowa City, United States, 4University of Iowa, Department
of Biostatistics, College of Public Health, Iowa City, United States
Intro: Cochlear implants (CI) are effective in transmitting temporal information, but less so with spectrally
complex sounds. Thus, regarding music, CI users are quite accurate in perceiving tempo or rhythm patterns, but
significantly less accurate than normal hearing listeners (NH) in perception of melody, harmony, and timbre. This
has implications for effective communication of symbolic content in music, including recognition of emotional or
movement cues. Prior studies indicate that mode (e.g., major or minor harmony) and timbre as well as tempo are
primary cues for conveying emotions (Juslin & Sloboda, 2010); rate of movement is conveyed by tempo, but
direction of melodic patterns convey changes in elevation, such as climbing. Prior studies with pediatric CI users
(Hopyan et al., 2011) revealed recognition of happy vs. sad music at levels above chance, though still
significantly less accurate than in NH children. This presentation expands upon prior research, examining a more
diverse group of 5 emotions as well as physical movements.
Methods: 26 pediatric CI users and 31 NH peers were tested on recognition of 5 basic emotions and 4
movements conveyed through 27 short musical excerpts. Responses were gathered on a computer screen via
pictures and labels of emotional expressions or movements. Chronological age, age of onset and implantation,
device type, strategy, and device configuration (i.e., bilateral, unilateral, bimodal) were evaluated for prediction of
Results: The CI group performed significantly less accurately than the NH group (p< 0.0001) in recognition of
both emotions and movements. CI users had similar levels of accuracy on all emotional categories, (45-65%
accuracy). The movement of climbing, which included melodic cues, was significantly less accurate (p< .001)
than the other 3 movement categories. Hearing profile did not predict outcomes.
Discussion: CI users were able to recognize both emotions and movement at above chance levels, but their
accuracy was significantly poorer than that of NH peers. These findings confirm and expand upon prior research
(Hopyan et al., 2011). The lack of access to melodic and harmonic cues, possibly compounded by less exposure
to symbolic uses of music in educational settings, likely contributed to poorer recognition.
Conclusions: The findings confirm that children with CIs are less adept than NH children for decoding symbolic
cues of music. For pediatric CI users, tempo and rhythm cues provide more useful input than pitch or harmony
for identifying emotional meaning or movement cues.
Learning outcome: Attendees will (a) be able to describe the impact of degraded representation of pitch and
timbre on recognition of emotional or movement cues in music and (b) describe which musical cues are more
accessible to CI users.