New paper: Who Moves to Music? Empathic Concern Predicts Spontaneous Movement Responses to Rhythm and Music

A few days after Agata Zelechowska defended her PhD dissertation, we got the news that her last paper was finally published in Music & Science. It is titled Who Moves to Music? Empathic Concern Predicts Spontaneous Movement Responses to Rhythm and Music and was co-authored by Victor Gonzalez Sanchez, Bruno Laeng, Jonna Vuoskoski, and myself.

The paper is based on Agata’s headphones-speakers experiment. We have previously published a paper showing that people move more when listening on headphones. This, however, the focus was on the data gathered on individual differences. Many variables were tested, but it was only empathic concern that turned out to be a motion predictor.

Here is a short video teaser about the article:

And here is the abstract:

Moving to music is a universal human phenomenon, and previous studies have shown that people move to music even when they try to stand still. However, are there individual differences when it comes to how much people spontaneously respond to music with body movement? This article reports on a motion capture study in which 34 participants were asked to stand in a neutral position while listening to short excerpts of rhythmic stimuli and electronic dance music. We explore whether personality and empathy measures, as well as different aspects of music-related behaviour and preferences, can predict the amount of spontaneous movement of the participants. Individual differences were measured using a set of questionnaires: Big Five Inventory, Interpersonal Reactivity Index, and Barcelona Music Reward Questionnaire. Liking ratings for the stimuli were also collected. The regression analyses show that Empathic Concern is a significant predictor of the observed spontaneous movement. We also found a relationship between empathy and the participants’ self-reported tendency to move to music.

And the full reference is:

Zelechowska, A., Gonzalez Sanchez, V. E., Laeng, B., Vuoskoski, J. K., & Jensenius, A. R. (2020). Who Moves to Music? Empathic Concern Predicts Spontaneous Movement Responses to Rhythm and Music. Music & Science, 3, 2059204320974216. https://doi.org/10.1177/2059204320974216

The different parts of the experiment (from left to right): preparation, first listening session, first set of questionnaires, second listening session, second set of questionnaires.

We are working on preparing the data of the experiment for sharing. It will be shared as part of the Oslo Standstill Database.

Published by

alexarje

Alexander Refsum Jensenius is a music researcher and research musician living in Oslo, Norway.