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Journal Article

The effect of visual recognition on listener choices when searching for music in playlists (Advance online publication)


Anglada-Tort,  Manuel       
Research Group Computational Auditory Perception, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;
Audio Communication Group, Technische Universitat Berlin;

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Steffens, J., & Anglada-Tort, M. (2023). The effect of visual recognition on listener choices when searching for music in playlists (Advance online publication). Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. doi:10.1037/aca0000562.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000D-07AB-B
With so many options available, how do listeners search for and choose music effectively? Here we examine the role of a simple cognitive heuristic: choosing based on recognition. In two experiments, participants were presented with multiple musical choices and asked to choose their favorite songs. We manipulated visual recognition by presenting songs either with recognizable titles (names previously learned in a familiarization task) or completely novel ones. In line with the Recognition Heuristic, Experiment 1 tested whether listeners rely on visual recognition in a compensatory fashion. Participants had to choose one of a pair of songs presented with familiar/novel titles and social information about the quality of the song (positive, neutral, and negative). Results revealed that visual recognition was a significant driver of choice, but its influence largely depended on additional social information. This suggests the use of a cue integration strategy in which listeners weigh all available cues and combine them according to their utility to choose the optimal option. In Experiment 2, we replicated the main effect of visual recognition in a more complex decision-making situation, where participants had to choose their favorite songs from a playlist with 10 choice options. In the two experiments, allowing participants to listen to the music significantly reduced the effect of visual recognition, but it did not suppress it completely. We discuss these findings in terms of the implications of recognition effects on listening behavior and aesthetic preferences, audio streaming services, and the music industry. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved)