Effects of Music: Does the Type of Music
Influence How Much We Spend at Restaurants?
Music can be soothing and make us feel happy. But does music influence
how much we spend at restaurants? This is one of the important questions
concerning the possible effects of music.
North, Shilcock, and Hargreaves (2003) investigated the influence of the
type music on spending behavior at a restaurant. The participants were
customers at a restaurant, and they did not know that they were in an
experiment. Each participant at the restaurant listened to either classical music,
pop music, or no music. They found that the mean total amount of money
spent at the restaurant was greater for people who listened to classical music
than for people who listened to pop music or no music. The difference
between the pop music group and the no music group was not statistically
significant with respect to the mean total amount of money spent at the
One of the explanantions they provided for the findings involved the idea that
classical music fosters an upmarket (upscale) atmosphere.
1. The analyses comparing the groups controlled for the amount of time spent
in the restaurant. See their article for other findings.
North, A. C., Shilcock, A., & Hargreaves, D.J. (2003). The effect of
musical style on restaurant customers' spending. Environment and
Behavior, 35, 712-718.