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A model for the social neuroscience of music production begins on a dubious note: Commentary on Greenberg et al. (2021).
American Psychologist  (IF16.358),  Pub Date : 2022-06-16, DOI: 10.1037/amp0000973
Annabel J. Cohen, Inga D. Neumann

Group singing and music-making behaviors that were rapidly adapted to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic context suggest to Greenberg et al. (2021) not only a musical solution to pandemic-related social isolation but also the importance of the social neuroscientific side of music. They propose a model of the social neuroscience of music production premised on the view that group singing leads to increased levels of oxytocin (a neuropeptide associated with empathy and social bonding), citing data of Schladt et al. (2017) and Keeler et al. (2015) as support. The present commentary points out that Schladt et al. reported a decrease rather than an increase in oxytocin level following group singing. Further, reference to the work by Keeler et al. (2015) is only partially accurate, and evidence contrary to the oxytocin premise is ignored. Similar inaccuracy is associated with claims for cortisol, another primary component of their model. While the authors are applauded for directing attention to both the social neuroscience of music and the value of group singing, tempering the stated premises associated with the oxytocin and cortisol channels of the model is recommended.