If you sing, dance, draw, or act — and especially if you watch others do so — you probably have an altruistic streak, according to a study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago. People with an active interest in the arts contribute more to society than those with little or no such interest, the researchers found. They analyzed arts exposure, defined as attendance at museums and dance, music, opera and theater events; and arts expression, defined as making or performing art.
"Even after controlling for age, race and education, we found that participation in the arts, especially as audience, predicted civic engagement, tolerance and altruism," said Kelly LeRoux, assistant professor of public administration at UIC and principal investigator on the study. In contrast to earlier studies, Generation X respondents were found to be more civically engaged than older people.