Consistent and Contrary Constructs: A Comparison of German and American Listeners’ Cognitive Associations with Popular Music Genres

Document Type

Conference Paper in Published Proceedings


Communications and Media Studies

Publication Date



This study examines the consistency with which listeners from two cultures (Germany and the United States) associate extra-musical concepts with four popular music genres (German folksy, country, punk, and hip-hop). An experiment showed that for internationally recognized genres (country, punk, and hip-hop), the two cultures made similar association patterns for all eight concepts measured (ethnicity, rural vs. urban culture, age, trustworthiness, expertise, attractiveness, friendliness, and political ideology). The experiment also revealed instances where the cultures differed, such as hip-hop’s association with ethnicity and most of the German folksy associations. An integration of societal-level and individual-level theories predicts these similarities and differences. The theories include massification, glocalization, social group theory, and cognitive schemas.

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