Interest in Arts Predicts Social Responsibility
People with an active interest in the arts contribute more to society than those with little or no such interest.
LeRoux, Kelly. (2012). Interest in Arts Predicts Social Responsibility. Chicago:University of Illinois at Chicago. Press Release.
Researchers analyzed arts exposure, defined as attendance at museums and dance, music, opera and theater events; and arts expression, defined as making or performing art and correlated it to data from the General Social Survey about altruistics actions such as donating blood, donating money, giving directions, or doing favors for a neighbor.
Data came from the General Social Survey, conducted since 1972 by the National Data Program for the Sciences, known by its original initials, NORC. A national sample of 2,765 randomly selected adults participated. Researchers correlated survey responses to arts-related questions to responses on altruistic actions -- like donating blood, donating money, giving directions, or doing favors for a neighbor -- that place the interests of others over the interests of self. They looked at 'norms of civility. Previous studies have established norms for volunteering and being active in organizations."
The researchers measured participation in neighborhood associations, church and religious organizations, civic and fraternal organizations, sports groups, charitable organizations, political parties, professional associations and trade unions.
They measured social tolerance by two variables:
- Gender-orientation tolerance, measured by whether respondents would agree to having gay persons speak in their community or teach in public schools, and whether they would oppose having homosexually themed books in the library.
- Racial tolerance, measured by responses regarding various racial and ethnic groups, including African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans. Eighty percent of the study respondents were Caucasian, LeRoux said.
The researchers measured altruistic behavior by whether respondents said they had allowed a stranger to go ahead of them in line, carried a stranger's belongings, donated blood, given directions to a stranger, lent someone an item of value, returned money to a cashier who had given too much change, or looked after a neighbor's pets, plants or mail.