Can Listening to Songs with Prosocial Lyrics Influence Donating Behavior?

By Brad Bell

Music is an important part of our lives.  Many people spend a considerable amount of time listening to music.  Listening to music may be beneficial in a number of ways.  One of the ways that it may be beneficial is by increasing helping behavior.  Could listening to songs with prosocial lyrics increase the number of people who make a charitable donation?  In Greitemeyer’s third study (2009), participants listened to songs with prosocial lyrics or songs with neutral lyrics.  Greitemeyer found that the percentage making a donation to a nonprofit was greater for people who listened to songs with prosocial lyrics than for people who listened to neutral lyrics. (1)  Greitemeyer’s finding concerning the influence of listening to songs with prosocial lyrics can be considered one of the possible positive effects of music, and may have important practical implications.  To increase donations, music with prosocial lyrics could be played at fundraising events.  This could be considered a creative fundraising idea.


1.  See the article for other findings.


Greitemeyer, T.  (2009).  Effects of songs with prosocial lyrics on prosocial thoughts, affect, and behavior.  Journal of Experimental Social Psychology45, 186-190.