Sound is capable of profound emotional experiences: one need look no further than the importance of music in film. Sonification is field of research interested in the use of sound to convey information in general, but what happens when the data is emotion? To objectively and systematically convey this data, I have explored sources of auditory-emotion induction in environmental sound and music. Choosing wisely from these sources, emotion can be communicated when social displays of affect are unavailable, misleading, or inappropriate. In my thesis, I developed sonification strategies based upon select structural/acoustic features and auditory-cognitive mechanisms. I produced the first ever computational evaluation of a sonification of emotion, using a publicly available tool for music emotion recognition. The evaluation highlights benefits and limitations of computational design, a technique that in addition to practical applications, can be used to acoustically instantiate mathematical models of musical emotion.
This project was inspired by a six-month NSERC Engage Grant: