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Engagement in painting, music promotes prosocial behaviour

Washington: People who are engaged in creative activities like painting, music, literature or dancing are more likely to help, share and do charity, claims a study.

The findings indicated that people’s greater engagement in the arts predicted ‘prosociality’, whereby people were more likely to volunteer and give to charity over a two-year period.

According to researchers, engagement with the arts can help societies counter economic, cultural and political divisions.

Dominic Abrams from University of Kent in Canterbury, England stated that regardless of a person’s age, education, employment and savings, their engagement with the arts remained a stronger predictor of their prosociality than did any other variables.

The study also provides evidence that the arts can act as a key social psychological catalyst that can foster and maintain social co-operation.

They team surveyed 30,476 people in the UK and looked at the positive relationship between arts engagement (attendance and participation) and prosociality (charitable giving and volunteering).

They found that engagement in the arts predicted prosociality more strongly than a large set of demographic variables such as gender, individual resources such as personal income, core personality such as openness and sports engagement.

Arts participation and attendance independently were ‘among the strongest predictors of charitable giving and volunteering’, the researchers found.

Dr Van de Vyver said that people who engaged more with the arts two years earlier continue to show even greater prosociality now.

Arts Council England’s Director of Communication and Public Policy, Mags Patten, said that this research makes a significant contribution to growing evidence of a causal link between taking part in the arts, individual well-being and the strength of communities.

This valuable piece of research will be important reading for those already studying in this vital area and it should encourage new studies of the social impact of the arts.

The results appear in journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. (ANI)