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The inhibition-devaluation effect of musical preference

The inhibition-devaluation effect of musical preference

Session 1

Presenter Name:Sean A. Gilmore

School/Affiliation:X University

Co-Authors:Mark Fenske, Frank Russo


The ubiquity of music since the advent of recorded music forces listeners to attend certain stimuli and inhibit others. The inhibition-devaluation effect (Fenske & Raymond, 2007) suggests that processes related to selective attention and affective evaluation are linked, such that, consistent inhibition of a stimulus leads to its negative emotional evaluation. Although this effect has been extensively considered using visual stimuli, it stands to reason that it may also influence auditory stimuli, inclusive of music. The aim of this study was to examine how the inhibition of a response associated with a genre of music may produce a negative preference towards the inhibited genre. In this study we tested 60 participants in a Go/No-go task, which had participants actively inhibiting a response to one of two musical genres (Pop, Rap). Pre and post task measures of preferences were collected to determine the devaluation of the inhibited genre. Information regarding demographics, musical absorption and musical preference were also collected. We predicted that the genre associated with an inhibited response would lead to a decrease in preference. Results of a mixed-model multiple regression showed that inhibition did not predict devaluation when considered on its own. However, a model which accounted for musical absorption, revealed an interaction between musical absorption and inhibition, such that participants categorized as high on musical absorption showed a significant decrease in preference towards the inhibited genre. Overall, these results provide a nuanced interpretation of the inhibition devaluation effect as it pertains to musical preference. It suggests that only individuals that have a tendency to be absorbed by music are impacted by the inhibition devaluation effect. This may relate to motivational factors, or differences in personality. Further work is suggested to explicate the underpinnings of these results.

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