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Title of song

Title of photograph

Does Mood Affect Perception?

Jacob Joli, Maaike Meurs. Music Alters Visual Perception. 21.04.11 A new study by researcher Jacob Jolij and student Maaike Meurs of the Psychology Department of the University of Groningen shows that music has an even more dramatic effect on perception: even if there is nothing to see, people sometimes still see happy faces when they are listening to happy music and sad faces when they are listening to sad music.

The aim of this experiment was to discover if mood affects the way we perceive things. Music and mood are closely interrelated, not only changing the way we feel but also our perception. I got participants to listen to a variety of music genres ranging from opera and heavy metal, to acapella jazz and house. Participants listened to clips of music for one minute whilst looking at a image from a selection of 50 photographs. A questionnaire was filled out by each subject. They were shown each image individually and were asked to describe the photograph along with their current mood.

Billy Gray 20 years old

Ellie Herorn 20 years old

Poppy Newman 20 years old

Joe Stark 23 years old


Favourite genre of music Least favourite genre of music

Funk Skreamo

Favourite genre of music Least favourite genre of music

Drum & Bass Skreamo

Favourite genre of music Least favourite genre of music

Reggae Heavy metal & James Blunt

Favourite genre of music Least favourite genre of music

House & Reggae Opera

Bohemian Rhapsedy Queen


When listening to Queen, Ellie described her mood as excited and described the image as playful and quiet.

Playful quiet Dull


Poppy Newman Poppy was with me when I captured this image so was aware of the position it was taken in, she chose bored to define her mood. Displeased and adventurous where the words she chose to define the image.


California Vocation The Game ft Snoop Dogg

Turn upside down

Billy Gray

Discomfort Home

Joe Stark

Pain Constipated

When listening to California Vocation, Joe felt bored and used pain and discomfort to portray the image.

Juicy The Notrious B.I.G

Billy Gray Relaxed

Maxin Lunch


Unwinded Joe Stark

Joe defined this image by using the words unwinded and half full, he felt relaxed and excited whilst listening to Juicy as he enjoys listening to Biggie.

Pornogrind Aborted Pig fetus

Ellie Herron Uneasy

Violence Shank

Joe Stark


Keep in ones grasp


Almost Blues Chet Baker

When Billy was listening to Almost Blues he was feeling happy and relaxed and defined the photograph by using the words Sunday and Autumn.

Sunday Autumn


Does Mood Affect Perception?

Joe was feeling relaxed and content when he was looking at this photograph and it reminded him of the sea/docks and guidance.


We Gotta Go The Brain

Billy was listening to The Brain when he chose the words carnage and home to represent this photograph and chose happy to describe his mood.


Joe Stark



D e a d

5th Symphony Beethoven


Joe Stark Relaxed Company / friendship and urban were the words Joe chose to best describe this photograph.

Youth Power

Ellie Herron Relaxed

Urban Hipster


Evolution of Music Pentatonix

A very strange ocassion


Ellie Herron Bored

Evil Sad Caged

Rock 2 The Base Critical

A cure for all ills

Poppy was feeling excited when listening to Critical and described the photograph as linear and dents.

Vanishing point Rusty Billy wrote parkour and unknown when describing this photograph and chose uneasy to define his current mood when listening Critical.

E n d l e s s

Ambrosia Alesana

Object of wonder

V o o d o o

Hoarding When Joe was listening to Ambrosia by he picked annoyed and excited to best describe his mood and wrote the words hoarding and voodoo to define the image.

When Poppy was listening to Alesana by Ambrosia she chose tribal and hairy to best describe this photo.



From analysing the questionnaires and video footage, I was able to gain a clearer understanding of my investigation, as it formed strong content to support the idea that mood and music can in fact change perception. I found that when partcipants were feeling uneasy and bored they described the photograph less positively than when they were feeling relaxed and excited. However I also discovered that if the image itself portrayed a specific mood, then the tone of the music did not seem to affect the way they percieved the photograph. Therefore, results depend on the strength of the photograph itself in comparison to the viewers mood as well the music. Thank you to all the people that took part in this experiment. Vimeo

Sophie Doyle


50 photos Playlist One  

I created two books based on an experiment I carried out on if mood affects the way we perceive things. Music and mood are closely interrela...