Chanting meditation improves mood and social cohesion

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Chanting is a pervasive practice in almost every tradition all over the world. It has been found to improve attention and reduce depressive symptoms, stress and anxiety. The current study aimed to determine whether chanting " Om " for 10 minutes would improve attention, positive mood and increase feelings of social cohesion. The effects of vocal and silent chanting as a meditation practice were compared, as well as the effects of chanting for experienced and inexperienced chanters. It was hypothesized that vocal chanting would have a greater effect than silent chanting and experienced chanters would report stronger effects. Experienced and inexperienced chanters were randomly allocated to one of two conditions: vocal chanting or silent chanting. Prior to and following chanting, participants completed the Digit-letter Substitution task, the Positive Affect Negative affect Schedule, the Multidimensional Measure of Empathy and the Adapted Self-Report Altruism Scale. Following chanting participants also completed a Social Connectedness Questionnaire and a manipulation check. Results showed that positive affect and altruism increased more following vocal than silent chanting. Furthermore, whereas altruism increased following both vocal and silent chanting for experienced participants, it only increased following vocal chanting for inexperienced participants. No significant differences between vocal and silent conditions were observed for empathy, attention, or social connectedness. Overall, the results indicate that chanting has a positive effect on mood and social cognition. The findings are discussed in view of current understandings of the psychological and emotional effects of music and synchronization.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 14th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition: ICMPC14
Place of PublicationSan Francisco
PublisherThe Society for Music Perception and Cognition (SMPC)
ISBN (Electronic)1-876346-65-5
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


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