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Many studies in the field of positive media psychology have investigated the effects of meaningful film on viewer’s feelings and openness to others, all the while music is the number #1 media source for feeling moved, touched or inspired. Therefore, the current study examined the role of meaningful compared to pleasurable music on listeners emotional experiences, feelings of connectedness, and altruistic behaviors. In a pre-posttest experiment, 105 participants (Mage = 23.800; SD = 6.082; 77.3% female) listened to either their favorite meaningful music or their favorite pleasurable music. Findings revealed that listening to meaningful music leads to stronger feelings of being moved, having a lump in one’s throat and tears crying, more contemplation, a stronger motivation to seek what matters in life, and a stronger desire to express love to close others, compared to listening to pleasurable music. Both listening to meaningful and pleasurable music were found to lead to a wide range of intense and blended emotions, a desire to connect to others, and same levels of altruism. In sum, meaningful and pleasurable music can evoke a different mix of emotions, however, both are strong and open our hearts to others.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Mass Communication and Society in 2021, available online at It may differ slightly from the final version of record.

The Creative Commons license below applies only to this version of the article.


Taylor & Francis

Creative Commons License

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



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