Effects of songs with prosocial lyrics on prosocial behavior: further evidence and a mediating mechanism

Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2009 Nov;35(11):1500-11. doi: 10.1177/0146167209341648. Epub 2009 Jul 31.


Previous research has shown that exposure to prosocial songs increased the accessibility of prosocial thoughts, led to more interpersonal empathy, and fostered helping behavior. However, inasmuch as cognition, affect, and behavior were measured in different studies, it remained unclear what variable constituted the mediating path from media exposure to action. This was tested in the present research. In four studies, listening to songs with prosocial, relative to neutral, lyrics increased helping behavior. This effect was mediated by interpersonal empathy. The results are consistent with the general learning model and point to the importance of the affective route in explaining how media exposure influences social behavior.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aggression / psychology
  • Empathy
  • Female
  • Generalization, Psychological
  • Helping Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Music*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Facilitation
  • Speech Perception*
  • Video Games
  • Violence / psychology
  • Young Adult