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Music on Moral Values

Can Music be a window to our moral values?

According to Dr Charalampos Saitis, one of the senior authors of the study and Lecturer in Digital Music Processing at Queen Mary University of London's School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, music can be a predictor of the

way people behave and what they believe.

Her study involved over 1,400 participants who completed psychometric questionnaires. It assessed their moral values and they were also asked information about their favorite artists through Facebook page likes.

The researchers then extracted the background notes and lyrical features from the top five songs of each participant's preferred artists.

Using Machine Learning algorithms, such as lexicon-based methods and BERT-based embeddings, the team analyzed the features to predict participants' moral values. These techniques were used to analyze narrative, moral underlying, sentiment, and emotions in lyrics.

Low- and high-level audio features which were also provided via Spotify's API were also used to understand encoded information in participants' musical choices, enhancing moral inferences.

The findings revealed that music was not simply a source of entertainment or a way to get into your feels or reminisce on the past. It is also determined to be a powerful medium that reflects and shapes our morals.

By understanding this connection, there might be new research for music-based practices that promote positive moral development.


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