Associations between musical sophistication and personality: Evidence from three countries


One aim of modern music psychology should be to find how musical sophistication and personality are connected. In order to explain (social) behaviour of individuals understanding personality and its relationship to music is crucial. Furthermore, a challenging task is to investigate the global universality of these findings which means transnational studies are needed. Additionally, we believe that modern science should apply new statistical methods in order to find causal directions in empirical data. As an example, we present a series of studies that aim to answer the question if personality influences musicality or if it is the other way around. Personality theories suggest that our predetermined traits impact our characteristic adaptions and our abilities like musicality (Costa & McCrae, 2008), whereas the disruption hypothesis states that personality is not stable in adolescence and can be influenced by activities like engaging in music (Soto & Tackett, 2015). Therefore, we wanted to test whether associations between musical sophistication and personality are stable across various sample from different cultural backgrounds and if there is a causal direction. We conducted three studies with secondary school students from Germany (N = 1114), Russia (N = 346) and the UK (N = 751). Personality was measured using the TIPI (Gosling, Rentfrow, & Swann, 2003) and musical sophistication was measured using the Gold MSI (Müllensiefen et al., 2014). We computed correlational skeleton graphs using the R package qgraph and then applied the PC algorithm in order to find causal direction from the cross-sectional data using the R package pcAlg. Results indicate that in all three samples musical sophistication influences personality and the most stable association can be found between the Gold MSI Emotion subscale and openness.

Wed, 09 Sep 2020 — Fri, 11 Sep 2020
University of Leeds