Feb 23, 2022 - Science

Study reveals persuasive power of headphones

Illustration of a brain with glasses and headphones.

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We're more trusting of and more persuaded by things we hear through our headphones, according to a new study from UC San Diego, UCLA and UC Berkeley.

Why it matters: That means advertisements and public service announcements people hear when they're listening to something through headphones — like a podcast — might be more persuasive than other ads, the researchers note.

The big picture: In one experiment, researchers surveyed a group of adults who listened to an audio clip of a mother and daughter talking about their homelessness. Some used headphones and some listened through a speaker.

  • Those who used headphones felt more empathy toward the mother and daughter and felt they were more genuine, according to the study.

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