The earliest movies were shown in halls with live accompanists playing pianos and organs. Some films were even accompanied with full live orchestras. Why would movie companies go to such expense, if not to make viewers enjoy the film more?
Movies like “Jaws” in 1975 incited terror in their audiences simply by playing scary music while showing pictures of empty ocean. Marilyn Boltz has found that music can actually affect viewers’ memory of movie scenes: Depending on what music is played, viewers will “remember” seeing different objects — in some cases objects that weren’t even present in the scene.
A team led by Berthold Hoeckner wanted to know if movie music also affects how we perceive others’ thoughts. While there is a lot of research confirming that music can affect our perception of characters’ emotions, there has been much less study of theory of mind.