Empathic individuals are better at understanding emotional expression in music

Empathic individuals are better at understanding emotional expression in music ...

Is it possible to better understand those who understand the emotions of others by interpreting them through music? A new study by an international research firm suggests that the abilities are linked.

Future research will be conducted using socially engaged music listening to social cognitive capacity, as well as whether listening to music may be added to therapeutic techniques used in social skills training for individuals with autism spectrum disorders or schizophrenia.

Thefindingswere now published in Emotion, a scientific journal of the American Psychological Association.

An assistant professor of psychology and the director of the Southern Methodist University''s Southern California-based Neuroscience Lab (SCN) led the study, led byBenjamin A. Tabak, an assistant professor of musicology and the affiliated faculty of the Oregon Center for Translational Neuroscience.

Empathy is most often thought of in the context of social interactions, but there are many other forms of social communication, including music, according to Tabak. Music may enliven meaning and emotion and also elicit emotional reactions, but the mechanisms responsible for its emotional power are poorly understood.

Tabak and his friends wanted to test their empathy and music theory. For the purposes of this study, they measured the ability to correct understand others'' thoughts and feelings (empathic accuracy) and the degree to which one perceives the emotions that another feels (affect sharing).

We thought it might be interesting to evaluate whether people who more accurately understand others'' thoughts and feelings might also be more accurate in understanding what musicians are intending to convey through music, according to Tabak. We also wanted to see whether people who express emotions through music also express emotion.

Both hypotheses were supported by the initial set of findings. Specifically, the results suggest that empathic accuracy as a skill extends beyond interpersonal interactions into music. These results will provide a foundation for future investigations into the impact active, engaged music listening may have on improving social cognition.

The research, according to Tabak and Wallmark, has provided sufficient support for the notion that music is at the core of the greatest social behavior, which is used to assist individuals in reaching out to others and improve understanding and managing their social environment.

This is critical on several levels, with the possibility of developing new music-based therapies that might assist individuals with difficulties in understanding how others think and feel, according to Tabak.

Tabak and his colleagues adapted the interdisciplinary approach he and their colleagues used as a model for future research projects in this area. Out of Tabak and Wallmark, whose scholarly work falls in both psychology and musicology, the research team also included two statisticians and a psychologist with experience in social cognition in schizophrenia.

At a coffee shop in Dallas, researchers had only conducted experiments that directly addressed these research questions, but few of the previous studies had included significant samples, and none included a replication study.

We hope that our work will highlight the value of doing interdisciplinary research that covers science and humanities. Work like this, which takes a well-known psychological construct like empathy and examines it in an unconventional way by asking what people think of a musical composer, might stimulate others to think outside of the box and ultimately gain a deeper understanding of a process through interdisciplinary collaboration, according to a senior economist.

You may also like: