Do song lyrics affect behavior?


Previous research has shown that exposure to prosocial songsincreased the accessibility of prosocial thoughts, led to moreinterpersonal empathy, and fostered helping behavior. However,inasmuch as cognition, affect, and behavior were measured indifferent studies, it remained unclear what variable constitutedthe mediating path from media exposure to action. This was testedin the present research. In four studies, listening to songswith prosocial, relative to neutral, lyrics increased helpingbehavior. This effect was mediated by interpersonal empathy.The results are consistent with the general learning model andpoint to the importance of the affective route in explaininghow media exposure influences social behavior.

Source: “Effects of Songs With Prosocial Lyrics on Prosocial Behavior: Further Evidence and a Mediating Mechanism” from “Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin”

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