Why people listen: Motivations and outcomes of podcast listening

PLoS One. 2022 Apr 6;17(4):e0265806. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0265806. eCollection 2022.


The aim of this preregistered study was to identify dispositional predictors of podcast listening and examine the associations between aspects of podcast listening, dispositional predictors, and psychological outcomes. Three hundred and six adults from a range of countries completed an online questionnaire that assessed individual difference predictors (the Big Five personality factors, curiosity, need for cognition, need to belong, age, and gender), aspects of podcast listening (amount, format, setting, device, and social aspects), and potential outcomes (autonomy, competence, relatedness, meaning, mindfulness, and smartphone addiction). As predicted, openness to experience, interest-based curiosity, and need for cognition positively predicted podcast listening. Contrary to predictions, need to belong negatively predicted podcast listening, and time spent listening to podcasts was not associated with autonomy, competence, relatedness, meaning, mindfulness, or smartphone addiction. However, certain aspects of podcast listening (e.g., parasocial relationships and social engagement) were related to positive outcomes and to our predictor variables. Furthermore, neuroticism negatively predicted podcast listening. Overall, the findings support the idea that informational motives can play a role in podcast listening, and that some aspects of listening are associated with positive outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Auditory Perception
  • Humans
  • Motivation*
  • Neuroticism
  • Personality*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Grants and funding

SJT received funding for this research from the Behavioural Neuroscience & Mental Health program of the Institute of Health & Biomedical Innovation at Queensland University of Technology. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.