Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Flourish post #5 - NFC, NFA and music in church

[You'll need to read this post first to understand what I'm talking about here.]

Okay, so there are real differences between people in terms of their need for cognition (NFC) and their need for affect (NFA). But how do these differences affect which songs we like to sing in church? Here are 13 ideas.

1. High NFCrs need there to be clear logical progression between the lines of a song. It needs to make sense. High NFCers will notice if it doesn't make sense. For low NFCers, it kind of making sense is good enough.

2. The perception that a song might be complex is enough to turn low NFCers off a song. They've done experiments. You give exactly the same thing to two groups of people. With one group you hint that it is simple, with the other group you hint that it is a little complex ('You'll need to think about this.') If told it is complex, the low NFCers are likely to hate it - whatever it is.

3. Low NFCers love the familiar. Chord progressions that they've heard before, phrases they have heard before. If a song sounds like every other song, high NFCers will probably hate it and low NFCers will probably love it.

4. If a song is thought to be successful and popular, it is more likely to appeal to low nfcers.

5. High NFCers are not going to be moved by a song that doesn't satisfy their need for logic, depth and nuance.

6. Low NFCers are not going to be moved by a song that isn't 'safe' cognitively. (i.e.. familiar, predictable.)

7. Low NFCers value social clues. If others are getting into a song, they will like the song more.

8. High NFCers have higher verbal intelligence than low NFCers. This makes a difference in how quickly and fully certain lyrics will be understood. [note. Verbal Intelligence is only one type of intelligence. There is no difference between high and low NFCers on other types of intelligence.]

9. High NFCers like nuance. Lower NFCers generally prefer absolutes.

10. High NFAers are greatly influenced by mood. There's been experiments. Two groups. With one, you manipulate the environment to put them in a good mood (lighting, welcome, smells, whatever) and then present something (in the experiments it was a product or an idea but it could have been a song). With the other group you manipulate the environment to induce a bad mood and then present the same thing. The high NFAers assess the product much, much more positively when in a good mood than in a neutral or bad mood. And they think they are being objective in their judgement. Not so with low NFAers. So creating the right mood in church really makes a difference to how songs will be received.

11. High NFAers are looking to be moved by a song, so are more likely to be moved than lower NFAer.

12. High NFAers will get into a song more if there is a story attached to it.

More thoughts on emotion and music in my next post.


  1. This is great. Looking forward to the next post.

  2. Hey Tom. Glad you're interested.

    Would love your comments as the series progresses more.

  3. Hey Simone, thanks for posting all of this. I am intending to do it when Uni quietens probably not for a few weeks. But I just wanted to say I'm glad you're sharing it with us :)