Music And Empathy Can Enhance Our Social Cognition, Study Finds

Psychology News

A team of international researchers at Southern Methodist University explored how music and empathy benefit each other and enhance social communication. The study is published in the journal Emotion.

The Study

The researchers wanted to explore if empathy enhances our social cognitive abilities and helps us to understand sensitive stuff better, for example, people’s personal stories or artists’ expressions in music.

Using linear mixed-effects models and music, they measured the ability of a person to correctly understand others’ thoughts and feelings (empathic accuracy) and the extent to which one feels the emotions that another feels (affect sharing).

The Findings

The results revealed that listening to music increases our social skills, especially empathic accuracy. This empathy, in turn, enhances our social cognition and helps us to engage better in listening to others and understanding emotions.

Towards Interventions

The researchers are enthusiastic that their findings on music and empathy can help formulate music-based interventions that help people with mental disorders (like schizophrenia or depression) to better understand and manage their social environment.

One of the lead researchers, Benjamin A. Tabak, elaborated: “[Works] like this … might propel others to ‘think outside of the box’ and ultimately gain a greater understanding of [empathy] through interdisciplinary collaboration.”

To Know More You May Refer To

Tabak, B. A., Wallmark, Z., Nghiem, L. H., Alvi, T., Sunahara, C. S., Lee, J., & Cao, J. (2022). Initial evidence for a relation between behaviorally assessed empathic accuracy and affect sharing for people and music. Emotion (Washington, D.C.), 10.1037/emo0001094. Advance online publication.

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  • Music And Empathy Can Enhance Our Social Cognition, Study Finds