Hearing through Vibrations: Perception of Musical Emotions by Profoundly Deaf People

12/24/2020 ∙ by Anastasia Schmitz, et al. ∙ 0

Advances in tactile-audio feedback technology have created new possibilities for deaf people to feel music. However, little is known about deaf individuals' perception of musical emotions through vibrotactile feedback. In this paper, we present the findings from a mixed-methods study with 16 profoundly deaf participants. The study protocol was designed to explore how users of a backpack-style vibrotactile display perceive intended emotions in twenty music excerpts. Quantitative analysis demonstrated that participants correctly identified happy and angry excerpts and rated them as more arousing than sad and peaceful excerpts. More positive emotions were experienced during happy compared to angry excerpts while peaceful and sad excerpts were hard to be differentiated. Based on qualitative data, we highlight the benefits and limitations of using vibrations to convey musical emotions to profoundly deaf users. Finally, we provide guidelines for designing accessible music experiences for the deaf community.

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