Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The prosent study was designed to demonstrate the e f fects of background music on immediacy behaviors observed during dyadic interaction. I t was predicted that background music introduced during an ongoing male-female interaction would increase interpersonal immediacy re lat ive to a preceding no-sound baseline. I t was further predicted that immediacy would be enhanced more by background music than by "cont ro l " exposures to white noise.

Six male-female dyads were observed during 36 minutes of continuous interaction. Following an A.-B-A.-C design, the interaction period was divided into four 9-minute segments two baseline segments and two treatment segments. During baseline phases (the f i r s t and third periods), no sound or music was played. The second and fourth periods were experimental and control phases in which subjects heard either background music or white noise. Nonverbal immediacy behaviors— other-directed gaze, mutual eye contact, smile, body orientation, approach distance and speech-~were recorded at ten second intervals by f iv e observers located behind a oneway mirror. Within-subject analyses were performed on the data from each dyad to determine i f immediacy increased or decreased during music and noise conditions relat ive to the preceding baseline le vol . Betwoen-3ubjoct analyses of grouped data were also employed to determine whothor, on the average, music produced more or less bohavior change than noiso, and whether treatment ef fects interacted with subjects’ sex and/or order of test ing.

Results provided limited evidence that background music can fa c i l i ta t e immediacy. Both music and noise increased immediacy r e la t iv e to baseline levels in some dyads but not in others. Analyses of grouped data suggested that music generally produced greater increases in immediacy than did noise. A signi f icant exception, however, was that dyad partners moved closer together during noise presentations than during music. Treatment order also seemed to be important, in that music e f fects on immediacy were greatest when music presentations were preceded by noise.