An investigation of the effects of music on Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) interpretations

Lana Carlton, Raymond A. R. MacDonald

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


This study investigated the effects of musical stimuli on Thematic Apperception
Test (TAT) interpretations. Sixty participants created written interpretations of
8 TAT pictures. Twenty participants listened to music rated as having a positive
emotional valence in a pilot study. 20 listened to music as having a negative
emotional valence in a pilot study and a further 20 participants created TAT
interpretations without musical stimulation. Results highlight that the emotional
valence of background musical stimuli influenced the participants' interpretations
of pictorial information. Specifically, the affective direction of participants'
interpretations was found to be significantly related to the type of musical stimuli.
Findings are discussed with reference to music and emotions literature highlighting
the multifaceted way in which music impacts aspects of daily life.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
No.issue: 1_suppl,
Specialist publicationMusicae Scientiae
Publisher European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2003


  • Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)
  • musical stimuli
  • pilot study
  • emotions


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