Thesis Title

Effect of Consonant and Dissonant Intervals on Categorization of Emotionally Valenced Words

Date of Graduation

Fall 2006


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

Frank Ragozzine


The purpose of the present experiment was to compare the effect of consonant intervals and dissonant intervals on categorization of emotionally valenced words. Forty college participants (14 men and 26 women) listened to both consonant musical intervals (characterized as emotionally positive) and dissonant musical intervals (characterized as emotionally negative) through headphones. This interval was immediately followed by an emotionally positive word of an emotionally negative word presented on a computer screen. Participants were instructed to push a button on a response box to indicate whether they considered the word to be either emotionally positive or emotionally negative. The response latency and the number of errors were measured. Strong linear correlations with the measurements used helped to support the reliability of the test. Furthermore, participants in the word condition had significantly faster reaction times in the positive word condition than in the negative word condition. This result supports one of the hypotheses and supports previous research. There was no significant effect of interval type, nor was there an interaction between word valence and interval type. Additionally, secondary analyses using several variables as covariates did not result in statistical significance.


consonant, dissonant, emotion, word valence, reaction time

Subject Categories



© Billy Jack II Myers


Open Access