Employing music exposure to reduce prejudice and discrimination

Aggress Behav. Nov-Dec 2014;40(6):542-51. doi: 10.1002/ab.21531. Epub 2014 Feb 25.


Whereas previous research has mainly focused on negative effects of listening to music on intergroup attitudes and behavior, the present three experiments examined whether music exposure could reduce prejudice and discrimination. In fact, those participants who had listened to songs with pro-integration (relative to neutral) lyrics expressed less prejudice (Studies 1 and 3) and were less aggressive against (Study 2) and more helpful toward an outgroup member (Study 3). These effects were unaffected by song liking as well as mood and arousal properties of the songs employed, suggesting that it is indeed the pro-integration content of the lyrics that drives the effects. It is discussed to what extent music exposure could be employed to effectively reduce prejudice and discrimination in the real world.

Keywords: discrimination; media effects; music; prejudice.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Attitude*
  • Austria
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Music / psychology*
  • Racism / psychology*
  • Turkey / ethnology