Title: The emotional power of poetry
Other Titles: neural circuitry, psychophysiology and compositional principles
Authors: Wassiliwizky, Eugen
Koelsch, Stefan
Wagner, Valentin
Jacobsen, Thomas  
Menninghaus, Winfried
Issue Date: 2017
Document Type: Article
Journal / Series / Working Paper (HSU): Social cognitive and affective neuroscience : SCAN 
Volume: 12
Issue: 8
Page Start: 1229
Page End: 1240
Abstract: 
It is a common experience-and well established experimentally-that music can engage us emotionally in a compelling manner. The mechanisms underlying these experiences are receiving increasing scrutiny. However, the extent to which other domains of aesthetic experience can similarly elicit strong emotions is unknown. Using psychophysiology, neuroimaging and behavioral responses, we show that recited poetry can act as a powerful stimulus for eliciting peak emotional responses, including chills and objectively measurable goosebumps that engage the primary reward circuitry. Importantly, while these responses to poetry are largely analogous to those found for music, their neural underpinnings show important differences, specifically with regard to the crucial role of the nucleus accumbens. We also go beyond replicating previous music-related studies by showing that peak aesthetic pleasure can co-occur with physiological markers of negative affect. Finally, the distribution of chills across the trajectory of poems provides insight into compositional principles of poetry.
Organization Units (connected with the publication): Allgemeine und Biologische Psychologie 
URL: https://ub.hsu-hh.de/DB=1.8/XMLPRS=N/PPN?PPN=890519366
DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsx069
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