Effects of musical collaboration on intergroup attitudes
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Music is an important presence in our world, thought to be universal in human societies. The ubiquity of music has led some to postulate that it might have an important evolutionary purpose. One theory about the purpose of music is that it helps facilitate the social aspects of our existence. If this is the case, music has the potential to be a powerful tool for change. Indeed, some research has suggested that music can increase positive intergroup interactions. Thus far, the research has shown that music may produce change in intergroup attitudes when accompanied by other intergroup interactions, such as cohabitation. It has also shown promise in relation to music preference and witnessed musical interaction. However, evidence for increased positive intergroup attitudes following actual (instead of imagined, vicarious, or witnessed) musical interaction in a controlled environment is still lacking. The purpose of this study was to test this idea. One hundred eighty-two undergraduate psychology students were recruited to complete musical tasks in collaboration, a non-musical task in collaboration, or a musical task alone (isolation). I hypothesized that (1) relative to intergroup non-musical collaboration, intergroup musical collaboration will lead to an increase in positive intergroup attitudes; and (2) musical isolation will lead to minimal or no increase in positive intergroup attitudes. The results of this study did not support these hypotheses.
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