Gretchen Ross

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Music



First Advisor

Edward A, Roth, M.M.

Second Advisor

Brian Wilson

Third Advisor

Kenneth H. Smith

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


Individuals with Williams syndrome (WS) have shown a greater range of longer-lasting emotional response to musical stimuli when compared to their typically developed (TD) peers. In this experiment, the effects of timing and amplitude variation on the ability of adults with WS to perceive emotion in musical performance (TD) peers was examined. Four versions of four Chopin nocturnes with varying levels of expressivity were presented. The musical stimuli were utilized in a previous study by Bhatara et al (2010) with children with ASD. Forty adults with WS and thirty-eight TD adults between the ages of 18-35 rated perceived emotion after listening to each piano excerpt. A three-way ANOVAfound no overall main effect (p=.275) between groups in regards to ratings of emotion. Significance was found regarding expressivity by group. Posthoc testing showed a significant difference between groups considering ratings for the full expressive version. In concurrence with the replicated study, it was found that individuals with WS were more markedly impaired in rating emotion in the full major key excerpts than minor key excerpts, suggesting they are more sensitive to emotional salience in music that is in a minor key. Recommendations for further research are discussed.

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