As an advocate of the Ethos Theory of Music, Herbert Spencer argues that sharing in a wide range of musically-aroused emotions promotes fellow-feeling thanks to which humans behave considerately towards each other. Here we attempt to provide empirical evidence to this claim. We identified Spencer’s fellow-feeling as an instantiation of the concerns for Harm and Fairness Moral Foundations; thus, we predicted that musical expertise, and specifically long-term listening to and playing classical music, would lead to favouring individualising moral foundations and opposing the binding ones. A cross-national questionnaire (US, Canada, and Italy) was conceived (N=330), and the data were analysed through a parallel mediation Structural Equation Model. Results confirm that musical expertise dampens the proclivity toward the binding moral foundations. Conversely, it is connected with an embracement of the individualizing moral foundations. Coherently with Spencer’s view, such an effect is fully mediated by the emotional way of listening to music
Ansani, A., Giombini, L., Poggi, I., Young, J.O. (2023). Ethos Theory of Music: Toward an Empirical Confirmation through Moral Foundations Theory. EMPIRICAL STUDIES OF THE ARTS [10.1177/02762374231180393].