Interview with Dr. Revital Hollander-Shabtai

14 July

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Following the publication of the article, "Music and COVID -19: changes in uses and emotional reaction to music under stay-at-home restrictions" we spoke with Dr. Revital Hollander-Shabtai about the research, its process and its results:


"Dr. Naomi Ziv and I started the study following the first quarantine in March-April 2020 in which people first experienced a unique situation in which they were locked up at home, usually alone, and forced to deal with social distance. We witnessed how music helps us many times, and accompanies us in lots of activities in life. We tend to play music in the background of an activity we perform or be active with it; it greatly affects our feeling, mood and energy. In this study, we examined if there were changes in music consumption habits during the quarantine period, and how music contributes to people while they are coping with the difficult conditions of the quarantine.


As part of the research process, we created a survey and conducted it among two hundred people in Israel. The survey focused on how music helps in dealing with crisis situations, and anxiety, creating a sense of brotherhood and shared destiny, relieving loneliness and more.


The second part addressed a unique Corona issue, "Covid-19 clips", clips that were sent through WhatsApp, clips of musicians playing at home, people could watch familiar singers singing at home in their daily outfit, without effects, and so on. We reviewed home shows and audience-free shows. Study participants were asked about the difference in terms of attending a real show, as opposed to watching the videos posted on WhatsApp, the respondents reported that they prefer real live shows. Although they enjoyed the videos, it is not a perfect replacement for them. It will no doubt be interesting to do the research again after a year of crisis and 3 quarantines and see whether there is any further change.


We wanted to compare the changes in mood of the participants today and in the past and how the music helped them. There are various theories as to how music helps in crisis situations, and this crisis is unique in terms of its conditions. We have seen some very interesting things: 1. People reported that when they hear music they feel do not feel alone 2. People reported that music makes them feel like they are somewhere else. These were also the two most dominant situations in the quarantine, when it was impossible to leave the house and social distance had to be maintained.


Another thing we asked is if there are any changes in music consumption habits, quantity and style of music. The results of the survey showed that there was no significant change. Respondents stated that in the first quarantine at they listened to more Israeli music, it made them feel related to their roots - we mentioned it but it was not significant. Most of the respondents reported they listened to the same music style, during the same activities and in similar quantity to what they listened to, before the quarantine."



Music and COVID-19: changes in uses and emotional reaction
to music under stay-at-home restrictions / Dr. Revital Hollander-Shabtai

Ziv, N., & Hollander-Shabtai, R. (2021). Music and COVID-19: Changes in uses and emotional reaction to

music under stay-at-home restrictions. Psychology of Music, 03057356211003326.‏




During stay-at-home orders in response to COVID-19, individuals had to deal with both health-related fear and anxiety and the difficulties related to social distancing and isolation. The present study, conducted in Israel shortly after the first lockdown was lifted, at the end of May 2020, examined individuals’ subjective evaluation of differences in their music listening habits and emotional reaction to music compared with normal times. A total of 200 participants filled an online questionnaire focusing on three issues: (1) changes in amount and situations of music listening. These included reference to new music clip types recently created and directly related to COVID-19 and its effects (Corona Clips); (2) changes in intensity of emotions experienced in reaction to music; and (3) changes in general emotions. For most participants music listening and uses remained similar or increased. Both emotional reaction to music general negative and socially related emotions were stronger than under normal circumstances. Music uses and emotion scales were correlated with socially related emotions. The results support previous findings regarding the use of music for mood regulation and the importance of music as a means for social contact and provide a demonstration of subjective evaluation of these functions in real-time coping during a global crisis.


For the full article >>