Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

On Appreciating the Music of Our Parents: The Role of the Parent-Child Bond

Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

On Appreciating the Music of Our Parents: The Role of the Parent-Child Bond

Article excerpt

In a world that offers such diverse varieties of music types, it is no wonder that great differences in music preferences exist. From classical music to classic rock, rap to alternative, jazz to bluegrass, each musical genre has its loyal fans and followers. Given this diversity, it should come as no surprise that many theories and research efforts have been advanced to explain how these preferences get determined. Some researchers have focused on situational factors, such as exposure frequency and exposure setting (North & Hargreaves, 1995; 2000), others have examined personality and lifestyle differences (Dollinger, 1993; Kopacz, 2005; Litle & Zuckerman, 1986; North & Hargreaves, 2007; Rentfrow & Gosling; 2003, 2006; Schwartz & Fouts, 2003; Zweigenhaft, 2008), and yet others have focused on the associations with music in memory and the physiological changes that occur from these associations, as possible explanatory mechanisms for differences in music preferences and tastes (Krumhansl, 1997; Meyer, 1956; Woody & Burns, 2001).

Moreover, these research endeavors have met with a great deal of success. For example, North and Hargreaves (1995) produced evidence suggesting that repeated exposure to complex pieces of music is associated with more positive evaluations of those pieces, whereas Schwartz and Fouts (2003) found that differences in musical preferences were related to differences in dispositional variables such as self-concept evaluation, academic performance, and feelings toward authority. Dollinger (1993) discovered that levels of extraversion and sensation seeking can predict preferences (see also Litle & Zuckerman, 1986). Additionally, Krumhansl (1997) demonstrated that the same physiological changes (e.g., heart and respiration rate, skin conductance, temperature, blood pressure) that accompany an emotional experience also occur while listening to music excerpts generally considered evocative of particular emotions (see also Nyklicek, Thayer, & Van Doornen, 1997).

In the current investigation, we attempted to add to this research by exploring a relatively under-researched potential influence on musical tastes: the musical preferences of one's parents. Studies in numerous domains suggest that parental attitudes, preferences, and behaviors may have a significant influence on the development of these attributes in their offspring. For example, research indicates that parental attitudes and behaviors are significant and important predictors of their children's political attitudes (Jennings & Niemi, 1981), their religious beliefs (Ogaki, Hammond, & Seamon, 1999), and their decisions to smoke (Destefan, Gilpin, Choi, & Pierce, 1998; Kalesan, Stine, &, Alberg, 2006), as well as their children's participation in leisure reading, their enjoyment of reading, their degree of literacy achievement (Yaden, Rowe, & McGillivray, 2000, cited in Baker & Scher, 2002), and their overall level of academic achievement (Spera, 2005; Steinberg, Lamborn, Dornbusch, & Darling, 1992).

Although parental attitudes and preferences are clearly strong general predictors of the attitudes and preferences of their children, research on the dynamics of parent-child interactions indicates that the strength of the association between parental attitudes and behaviors and those of their children may be moderated by the nature of the parent-child bond (Darling & Steinberg, 1993). That is, it appears that children's openness to parental influence is heightened when their parents adopt an authoritative parenting style (Baumrind, 1968; 1991), one in which "... parents are warm and responsive, providing their children with affection and support in their explorations and pursuit of interests" (Spera, 2005, p. 124).

Given the importance, in numerous domains, of the parent-child bond in determining the degree of parental influence, in the current study we examined the interrelations among parents' musical preferences, their college-aged children's evaluations of those preferences, and the character of the parent-child bond. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.