Dr. Deborah Beidel


The ability of music and art to impact emotions and behavior is well understood based on studies conducted in a laboratory. However, research in a laboratory setting does not always generalize well to a natural environment. In this pilot study, we investigated how attending an opera that portrayed a wartime Christmas truce affected the audience’s levels of empathic concern and perspective-taking. Paired samples t-tests were conducted on data from 63 adult participants (M = 52.17 years). The results indicated that attendance at this operatic performance positively changed both empathic concern and perspective-taking, suggesting that even in a naturalistic setting, music and art possess a transformative ability to change human emotions and behavior.

About the Author

Kathryn Sunderman earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with a focus in Clinical Psychology, and a minor in Nonprofit Management from the University of Central Florida. It was there that she worked as an undergraduate research assistant for UCF RESTORES; aiding in critical research in the treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Anxiety disorders.


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