Initial Evidence for a Relation Between Behaviorally Assessed Empathic Accuracy and Affect Sharing for People and Music

Academic Article


  • Are people who are better able to understand or feel the emotions of others also better at understanding or feeling emotions conveyed through music? Although evolutionary theories have proposed that both empathy and music help to foster social connection, few studies to date have examined the relation between behavioral assessments of empathic processes for people and music. We examined this question using 2 independent samples: a laboratory sample of undergraduates (n = 236) and a larger online direct replication with participants across the United States (n = 596). Across both samples, linear mixed effects models showed positive associations between empathic accuracy and affect sharing for people telling personal stories and for musical expression, and results were maintained when including relevant individual differences as covariates. These findings provide initial evidence of a relation between behaviorally assessed empathic processes across social and musical domains. Future research is needed to build upon this evidence by investigating whether active, socially engaged music listening may have a beneficial effect on social cognition
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Emotion  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Tabak BA; Wallmark Z; Nghiem LH; Alvi T; Sunahara CS; Lee J; Cao J