Sensitivity to Social Reward in Music Behavior Changes After Music Training in Preadolescence

Lippolis, Mariangela; Carraturo, Guilio; Ferreri, Laura; Vuust, Peter; Müllensiefen, Daniel; Matarelli, Benedeta and Brattico, Elvira. 2023. Sensitivity to Social Reward in Music Behavior Changes After Music Training in Preadolescence. Advances in Cognitive Psychology, 19(4), pp. 106-125. ISSN 1895-1171 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

During the last decades, a growing body of research on musical pleasure has shed light on individual differences and mechanisms underlying music reward sensitivity. Music training has been identified as a factor able to affect the rewarding experience associated with music, although in the existing literature, evidence on children is scarce. The current study focused on the effects of music training and individual musical engagement on sensitivity to music reward in preadolescence. One hundred and forty-two students (aged 10-14 years) at three different Italian music middle schools were tested three times over a period of one year and a half. Eighty two children belonged to a music curriculum within the school and 60 belonged to a standard curriculum. The Barcelona Music Reward Questionnaire (BMRQ), a multi-dimensional assessment tool to measure music reward sensitivity, was used, and pre-existing differences in music sophistication were controlled for. Moreover, in addition to the between-group comparison, highlighting the formal music training variable, the actual amount of musical activities and engagement both in and out of school was also taken into account. Several positive effects in terms of music social reward were found for students with a high level of musical engagement. Also, results showed a main effect of gender, with girls showing higher scores than boys in total BMRQ score and in several subdomains. Taken together, these data provide new evidence for the special role played by collective musical activities and suggest that music training may be able to promote social connection in preadolescence.

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The dataset analyzed for this study can be found in the Zenodo digital repository at


music reward music training preadolescence musical abilities social development

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26 December 2023Accepted
6 January 2024Published Online
December 2023Published

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Date Deposited:

30 Jan 2024 12:09

Last Modified:

30 Jan 2024 12:09

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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