Seeking Others’ Sounds: Predictors of Voluntary Exposure to Outgroup Music

Hyeonchang Gim, Heather Gahler, Jake Harwood, Stefania Paolini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intergroup contact research demonstrates that contact with outgroups (including mediated contact) improves attitudes about those groups. However, people often avoid such contact, including avoiding outgroup media messages. In two studies, we investigated voluntary exposure to outgroup media. Our research builds on intergroup contact theory and the reactive approach model. The latter suggests (counterintuitively) that, sometimes, anxiety can motivate people to engage with the unfamiliar. Both studies measured potential predictors of voluntary contact, provided musical options for respondents, and measured which options people chose as well as their engagement with and enjoyment of those choices. Study 1 provided a simple choice between two musical options (ingroup versus outgroup); Study 2 used a more extensive array of ingroup and outgroup options, including ingroup-outgroup collaborative music. Findings suggest a limited role of personality traits in determining seeking outgroup media, but a more powerful role for diversity-related attitudes and past exposure to outgroup media. Some evidence supported reactive approach models (e.g., self-expansion motives drove time spent listening to outgroup media in Study 1, but only for people who reported high levels of intergroup anxiety).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-71
Number of pages18
JournalMedia Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology


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