The Music Experience Questionnaire: Development and Correlates

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  • This article was downloaded by: [RMIT University]On: 06 September 2014, At: 12:12Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH,UK

    The Journal of Psychology:Interdisciplinary and AppliedPublication details, including instructions forauthors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/vjrl20

    The Music ExperienceQuestionnaire: Developmentand CorrelatesPaul D. Werner a , Alan J. Swope a & Frederick J.Heide aa California School of Professional Psychology, AlliantInternational University, San Francisco CampusPublished online: 07 Aug 2010.

    To cite this article: Paul D. Werner , Alan J. Swope & Frederick J. Heide (2006)The Music Experience Questionnaire: Development and Correlates, The Journalof Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied, 140:4, 329-345, DOI: 10.3200/JRLP.140.4.329-345

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.3200/JRLP.140.4.329-345

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  • The Music Experience Questionnaire:Development and Correlates

    PAUL D. WERNERALAN J. SWOPE

    FREDERICK J. HEIDECalifornia School of Professional Psychology

    Alliant International University, San Francisco Campus

    ABSTRACT. The authors introduce the Music Experience Questionnaire (MEQ), a self-report measure of individual differences in reactions to music. In analyses of responses ina derivation sample of 211 undergraduates and a replication sample of 105 undergradu-ates, scores on the 6 scales of this measure showed acceptable alpha coefficients and test-retest correlations. The authors found 2 principal factors: subjective/physical reactions tomusic and active involvement. MEQ scores were, at most, weakly correlated with 2 mea-sures of favorability of self-presentation, the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale(D. P. Crowne & D. Marlowe, 1960) and the Responding Desirability on Attitudes andOpinions Scale (K. Schuessler, D. H. Hittle, & J. Cardascia, 1978). Examination of cor-relations between MEQ scores and the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depressionscale (L. S. Radloff, 1977), as well as factor scores on the Adjective Check List (H. G.Gough & A. B. Heilbrun, 1983), suggested areas of similarity and difference in the corre-lates of music experience for women and men. The authors discuss directions for futureresearch as well as potential uses of the MEQ.

    Key words: assessment, individual differences, music

    DESPITE THE PERVASIVENESS AND IMPACT OF MUSIC, few measuresare available to assess, economically and in broad samples, reactions to and expe-riences of music from an individual differences perspective (Boyle & Radocy,1987; Bullock, 1973). Most assessment devices that gauge individual differencesin reactions to music have been designed for use in music education settings. Theprocedures for using them are cumbersome in that the assessment devices typi-

    The authors thank Bishop Scott for his assistance with recruitment of participants, col-leagues who provided helpful comments on earlier versions of this article, and the manyCSPP students who contributed to this project as research assistants.

    Address correspondence to Paul Werner, California School of Professional Psycholo-gy, Alliant International University, One Beach Street, Suite 100, San Francisco, CA94133-1221; PWerner@alliant.edu (e-mail).

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    The Journal of Psychology, 2006, 140(4), 329345Copyright 2006 Heldref Publications

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  • cally involve playing musical excerpts to test-takers, who then indicate their reac-tions to these excerpts. Furthermore, such assessments typically focus on attitu-dinal responses rather than on broader psychological issues, such as the place ofmusic in ones self-definition.

    In this context, a number of additional aspects of music experience warrantattention in broadly assessing the place of music in peoples lives. These include(a) physical and motor responses, which have been studied extensively in labo-ratory settings (Dainow, 1977), (b) absorption in musical experience (Tellegen &Atkinson, 1974), (c) perceived beneficial effects of musical experience (e.g.,calming, cheering, energizing effects), and (d) responses that foster or potentiatesocial relationships with others (Crozier, 1997; Hargreaves & North, 1999). Thebroad assessment perspective that we envision may foster articulation of the linksbetween musical experiences and aspects of personality, a topic of theoreticalinterest (LeBlanc, 1980) that has received little research attention (Rawlings &Ciancarelli, 1997; Wapnick, 1976). Because experiences and activities involvingmusic have come to be incorporated into treatment approaches in psychologicalcontexts (Cassity & Theobold, 1990; Cevasco, Kennedy, & Generally, 2005) andmedical contexts (Hilliard, 2003; Standley, 1986), a new measure may havepotential as a tool for informing clinicians decisions about likely benefits ofmusic for a particular client.

    In light of these considerations, we developed a broad-based questionnairemeasuring the experience of music. We will use this measure to explore the rela-tionship between aspects of self-reported musical experience and measures rep-resenting aspects of personality, as well as clinically relevant behavior.

    Method

    Participants

    Our derivation sample consisted of 211 community college students (155women, 56 men), and our replication sample consisted of 105 community collegestudents (61 women, 44 men). We recruited both samples from psychology class-es. In the combined sample, the mean age was 24.7 years (SD = 7.8). Of the 304participants reporting their ethnicity, 36% (n = 108) described themselves asAsian American, 25% (n = 77) as African American, 13% (n = 39) as White, 6%(n = 18) as Hispanic, and 20% (n = 62) as of other ethnic backgrounds. We askedparticipants in the replication sample about their musical background, and of the91 who responded to these questions, 53% (n = 48) reported ever having played amusical instrument, and 21% (n = 19) reported ever having taken singing lessons.

    Materials

    Music Experience Questionnaire. Development of the Music Experience Ques-tionnaire (MEQ) began with the drafting, editing, and organizing of a pool of

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  • items for use in our initial research: (a) we read extensively in the professional,scholarly, and lay literature about reactions to music, making note of themes inthis literature concerning music experience; (b) we held discussions with profes-sional and amateur musicians of varied backgrounds as well as with many non-musicians; and (c) we led a semester-long work group on the topic of musicexperience in our graduate psychology program, one element of which was dis-cussing constructs and potential items for our questionnaire.

    In writing items, we aimed to cover varied aspects of the experience ofmusic in a persons life and to represent topics relevant to people in general (e.g.,whether one enjoys singing in the shower or bath) as well as to musicians (e.g.,the belief that one has a perfect sense of pitch). We chose not to emphasize pref-erences among types of music, but rather to focus on aspects of the experience ofmusic, whatever variant one encounters. This process led to the inclusion of 141items on the initial version of the Music Experience Questionnaire, which tookapproximately 20 minutes for participants to complete. The questionnaire used a5-point scale from 1 (very untrue) to 5 (very true). In analyses of data from thederivation sample, we refined six scales developed on rational and theoreticalgrounds through item analyses aimed at increasing internal consistency. Werequired an additional criterion in the scale de

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