Music is What Feelings Sound Like: The Role of Tonal and Atonal Music in Unethical Behavior

Ethics and Behavior 22 (3):189 - 195 (2011)
Abstract
Governments and societies often have condemned music as being ?indecent? and encouraging people to act unethically. Despite these accusations, research did not previously address the link between music and unethical acts. Here we argue that music may signal what is appropriate or inappropriate, hence moral behavior. We focus on the distinction between tonal and atonal music to examine the relation of music with unethical behavior. Results from an experimental study showed that harmonic or tonal music encouraged unethical behavior in adolescents and this was mediated by negative affect. Our findings suggest that music plays an integral role in driving (im)moral behavior
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