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Conference Poster Year : 2024

Influences of music and rhythm on prosocial behavior in preschool children

Carla Aimé
Marie-Juliette Champeau
  • Function : Author
Agathe Culioli
  • Function : Author
Dalila Bovet
  • Function : Author
Rana Esseily
  • Function : Author


Music has existed in human culture for at least 40,000 years and is present today in all societies. Its perception, appreciation and production are based on a set of cognitive abilities commonly referred to as "musicality." Some authors have suggested that musicality may have an evolutionary origin. Specifically, it may have evolved because music promotes social cohesion within groups. This hypothesis is supported by studies in developmental psychology, which show that joint music-making promotes empathy in 8 to 11-year-olds, as well as cooperation and helping behavior in 4-year-old children. However, many questions remain unanswered, particularly regarding the effects of music listening on social behavior (beyond joint production), the conditions under which such effects may be observed (e.g., individual versus joint listening), the musical properties and mechanisms involved (e.g., the role of rhythm and interpersonal synchronization), and the broader evolution of musicality across the living world beyond our own species. In 2017, we already demonstrated a positive influence of joint listening to classical music on social interaction in a cooperative task context in children aged 3 to 6, as well as in a parrot species, the cockatiels (suggesting convergent evolution in humans and certain birds, thus indicating a partly biological, not just cultural, origin of musicality). The study presented here focuses specifically on children but is also part of a larger comparative project involving humans, non-human primates, and birds. In the case of children, this study showed that percussive, rhythmic electronic music fostered more social interactions and cooperation among pairs of 3 to 6-year-old children compared to classical music (Mozart's Sonata K448), white noise, a "scrambled" version of the stimulus used, or silence. The role of rhythm and interpersonal synchronization will be further explored in the future by testing the influence of new stimuli listened to together or separately, with or without concurrent music production. We also plan to examine the spontaneous movements of individuals during listening and their relationship to observed behaviors in subsequent prosocial tasks.
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hal-04532254 , version 1 (04-04-2024)


  • HAL Id : hal-04532254 , version 1


Carla Aimé, Marie-Juliette Champeau, Agathe Culioli, Dalila Bovet, Rana Esseily. Influences of music and rhythm on prosocial behavior in preschool children. Budapest CEU Conference on Cognitive Development (BCCCD), 2024, Budapest (HO), Hungary. ⟨hal-04532254⟩
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