Semantic Apparatus – Soundtrack for reality? How to use music effectively in non-fictional media formats

Cited by Lee Sonogan

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Abstract by Ann-Kristin Herget, Jessica Albrecht

Although it is frequently used and is highly valued in practice, background music in non-fictional media formats has shown a broad spectrum of ambiguous results in previous empirical research. Scholars have often even advised against the use of music in formats such as television news, news magazines, and documentaries. Discrepancies in the effectiveness of background music have also been found in film and advertising research. In these research areas, the congruence between music and medium has been shown to be especially relevant for predicting music’s effects. In this study, two experiments were conducted to investigate the influence of congruent and incongruent music in non-fictional media formats. The first experiment (N = 92) focused on music’s expressed and induced emotions, recipients’ memory performance, and the perceived credibility and general evaluation of the media format. Experiment 2 (N = 147) concentrated on attitude changes. As expected, carefully selected congruent background music (i.e., music expressing emotions and triggering associations fitting the media format’s topic) positively influenced recipients’ emotionalization, memory performance, and attitude change, as well as the perceived credibility and general evaluation of the media format. All of the measured effects can be considered medium or large (η2=.11–.64

Publication: Psychology of Music (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

Pub Date: Apr, 2021 Doi:

Keywords: music effect, non-fictional media, musical congruence, musical fit, expressed emotion, induced emotion, memory, credibility, attitude change (Plenty more sections and references in this research article)

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