Recently I have been showing the Emotiv EPOC neuroheadset in a presentation called "Mind Control Your Computer In C#". The neuroheadset scans brain waves and interprets facial expressions (Expressiv), emotions (Affectiv) and cognitive thought (Cognitiv). During my presentation I show all three of these but demonstrating emotions live is quite difficult because it is tough to force yourself to be interested or excited on demand. Listening to recorded music doesn't produce a significant emotional response from me either. So I seized an opportunity at the weekend. I attended a music festival and recorded the Affectiv output whilst listening to two different types of music.
The first is a slow blues by Patrick Smet. I like slow blues and I like Patrick Smet's performances but you can see the effect that the slow blues has on me as the piece progresses. In particular watch the black line (Instantaneous Excitement) and the red line (Engagement/Boredom). After 2 minutes you will see a considerable drop and a stability in both lines. Also note that the red line starts around 0.8 and drops to around 0.6 or lower for most of the piece.
The second piece is a fast boogie by Big John Carter. I like fast boogie and I like Big John Carter's performances. Again watch the red and black lines. In particular notice them after about 1 minute 40 seconds. The red line (Engagement/Boredom) averages around 0.8 often peaking at 0.9. The black line (Instantaneous Excitement) frequently hits 1.0. Also note the plummeting of the black line at the end of the piece.
I found this experiment very interesting. Clearly it is not without its flaws. For example you can't see what I was looking at whilst I made this recording and this would have an effect on the fluctuating emotional levels. I also can't explain why my Frustration levels (the blue line) go up sometimes when I'm clearly enjoying the music.