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The role of music preference in group bonding during a music listening task

The role of music preference in group bonding during a music listening task

Name:Cindy, He

School/Affiliation:McMaster University

Co-Authors:Emily Wood, Rachael Finnerty, Nicole Fu, Janice Li, Sean McWeeny, Hany Tawfik, Dan Bosnyak, Laurel Trainor

Virtual or In-person:In-person


Experiencing music together strengthens social bonds. Many previous studies have explored how synchronized movement to music supports social bonding (Mogan et al., 2017), however other musical experiences may lead to similar effects, such as sharing a positive preference to music together (Boer et al., 2011). Despite this, there is little work on how shared music preference affects social bonding. Here, we asked how individuals’ music preferences influence social bonding within groups who listen to music together. Undergraduate students came into the LIVELab to listen to music in groups of four through headphones. Critically, we preferentially recruited participants based on their music preferences (which we screened in a previous survey) such that groups were either all Fans or Non-Fans of either Pop or K-Pop (6 groups of N=4 in each crossed group, N total = 96). We measured their mood, likability of other group members, and the Inclusion of Other in Self (IOS) scale pre- and post-listening to the music, as well as their cooperation through a public goods game post-listening. Data collection is ongoing. Preliminary analysis suggests that groups like each other more post-music listening regardless of fan status (p < 0.001). We anticipate the results of the study will help us understand the effects of music preference on bonding, a question relevant for the universal cultural significance of music.

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