Personality and engagement with music: Results from network modeling in three adolescent samples

Ruth, Nicolas; Tsigeman, Elina; Likhanov, Maxim; Kovas, Yulia and Müllensiefen, Daniel. 2023. Personality and engagement with music: Results from network modeling in three adolescent samples. Psychology of Music, 51(4), pp. 1223-1242. ISSN 0305-7356 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

People who engage in musical activities may, on average, share certain personality features. For example, performing music in front of audiences may require greater extraversion. In contrast, long and solitary practice sessions may require greater introversion and conscientiousness. Research has established some links between dimensions of personality and indicators of engagement with music, for example, specific personality profiles for musicians/non-musicians. For example, openness is usually linked to musical involvement. However, research in the area is scarce and it remains unclear which specific aspects of musical engagement are linked to personality; how these links establish in the course of development; and whether these links are affected by culture. This article reports data collected with several measures of personality (Big Five personality scales) and a comprehensive measure of engagement with music—the musical sophistication index (Gold-MSI) in three countries: Germany (N = 1,114), Russia (N = 346), and the United Kingdom (N = 751). We applied a graphical network modeling approach to investigate the patterns of association among the measures. Our results found a number of consistent musical sophistication-personality associations across the three samples, with the strongest link being between the Gold-MSI emotions subscale and the personality trait openness, which was found in all three samples.

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Additional Information:

This research has been supported by the Humboldt’s foundation’s Feodor-Lynen postdoctoral fellowship for Nicolas Ruth and the Anneliese-Maier research prize awarded to Daniel
Müllensiefen by the Humboldt foundation.


Big Five, musicality, musical training, pupils, transnational

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27 August 2022Accepted
11 January 2023Published Online
July 2023Published

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Date Deposited:

16 Jan 2023 09:42

Last Modified:

31 Jul 2023 13:45

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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