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Title page for ETD etd-03222018-111206


Type of Document Dissertation
Author Beck, Sara Lynn
URN etd-03222018-111206
Title Joint Music Making and Prosocial Behavior in Preschoolers: Lyrics, Vocal-Motor Imitation, & the Beat
Degree PhD
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
John Rieser Committee Chair
Mark Wallace Committee Member
Megan Saylor Committee Member
Reyna Gordon Committee Member
Tedra Walden Committee Member
Keywords
  • movement
  • rhythm
  • entrainment
  • singing
  • helping
  • sharing
  • musical engagement
  • joint music making
  • music
  • children
Date of Defense 2018-03-21
Availability restricted
Abstract
Research has shown that active musical engagement promotes prosocial behavior in preschool-age children under some conditions but not others. The current study consists of two experiments designed to examine preschool-age children’s helping and sharing behavior toward a previously unfamiliar adult subsequent to joint musical or non-musical play. Experiment 1 established a paradigm for comparing sharing and helping after a brief experimental interaction, while also investigating the impact of verbal content on behavior across conditions. Experiment 2 investigated children’s sharing and helping subsequent to a joint singing interaction that was either temporally regular or temporally irregular. Behavioral coding was used in both experiments to explore how the type of interaction impacted children’s joint movement, interpersonal movement synchrony, and engagement throughout the interaction. Results of Experiment 1 showed that musical play was associated with more spontaneous helping and overall sharing than non-musical play. Analysis of synchrony and joint movement within the experimental interaction showed that musical play resulted in significantly more joint movement and interpersonal synchrony than non-musical play, but that even in musical conditions, joint movement was only perceptibly synchronized for a fraction of the length of the interaction. There was no evidence of an effect of verbal content on children’s behavior, despite uniformly high retention for the content of the song or poem across conditions. Experiment 2 showed that children’s sharing, helping, and engagement did not differ following temporally regular or irregular joint singing. A comparison of Experiments 1 and 2 indicated that only joint musical play – inclusive of both joint singing and percussive gross motor movement to a regular beat – influenced children’s subsequent prosocial behaviors and their engagement in the interaction relative to non-musical play. These findings provide further evidence that active music making can facilitate prosocial behavior in preschoolers, regardless of lyrical content, and suggest that joint movement may play a more significant role than precise movement synchrony in preschoolers’ musical engagement.

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