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

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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).

    329

    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 development phase of the analyses:that each item correlated more strongly with the scale to which it was assignedthan with any of the other scales. The final MEQ includes 53 items. The scaleconstructs and their definitions (as well as sample items) are as follows:

    1. Commitment to Music, the centrality of pursuit of musical experiences inthe persons life. (Sample item: It is important for me to see music beingperformed and not just hear it.)

    2. Innovative Musical Aptitude, self-reports of musical performance abilityas well as the ability to generate musical themes and works. (Sampleitem: People have applauded my performance of music.)

    3. Social Uplift, the experience of being stirred and uplifted in a group-ori-ented manner by music. (Sample item: I wish my family had sung togeth-er more when I was growing up. [Reverse-scored])

    4. Affective Reactions, affective and spiritual reactions to music. (Sampleitem: I love some kinds of music.)

    5. Positive Psychotropic Effects, calming, energizing, integrating reactions.(Sample item: Music unites my mind and my body.)

    6. Reactive Musical Behavior, motile reactions including humming andswaying along with music. (Sample item: Certain music draws mestrongly to dance.)

    Measures of response style. We included two measures of response style to gaugethe extent to which MEQ scores are associated with overt or unconsciousattempts at impression management (Paulhus, 1991). The extensively studied

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  • Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (Crowne & Marlowe, 1960) appearsto measure impression management (tailoring ones self-presentation to theexpectations of an audience) and has been conceptualized as indicating oneslevel of need for social approval (Crowne & Marlowe, 1964). The RespondingDesirability on Attitudes and Opinions Scale (RD-16; Schuessler, Hittle, & Car-dascia, 1978) assesses the tendency to describe oneself in an overly favorablemanner, when such self-presentations are made honestly rather than with the goalof inaccurately portraying oneself. In other words, people who score high on theRD-16 think highly of themselves by glossing over their flaws and shortcomings.The RD-16 is noteworthy in that its creators carefully selected the items to beunbiased with regard to the ethnicity and education of respondents. Researchsuggests that the RD-16 and Marlowe-Crowne scales reflect the independentdimensions underlying the social desirability domain (Paulhus).

    Measures of clinically relevant behavior and personality. We used the Center forEpidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D; Radloff, 1977) to measuredepressive symptomatology. Scores on this widely used, brief questionnaire havebeen found to show acceptable reliability, as well as concurrent validity, vis--visa variety of criteria (Shaver & Brennan, 1991). We included the Adjective CheckList (ACL; Gough & Heilbrun, 1983), a brief measure covering a variety ofaspects of personality, in the research packets of a subset of 115 participants. Inthis study, we analyzed summary scores on two sets of ACL factors that havebeen derived in previous research. The first consisted of factors found by Goughand Heilbrun to underlie ACL scale scores: Potency (resourcefulness, goal ori-entation), Assertiveness, Sociability, Individuality, Dissatisfaction, and Constric-tion (respect for rules; self-discipline). The second set of ACL factor variableswas introduced by FormyDuval, Williams, Patterson, and Fogle (1995) andWilliams, Satterwhite, and Saiz (1998) for the purpose of measuring the Big Fivepersonality dimensions of Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness,Emotional Stability, and Openness to Experience.

    Procedure

    We distributed research questionnaires to interested students at class meet-ings. With instructor permission, a member of the research team visited eachclass and invited students to take part in a project aimed at helping psychologistsform a better understanding of individual differences in the place of music inpeoples lives. The instructor had agreed to provide extra credit to participants.We provided informed consent information (e.g., concerning the anonymity andconfidentiality of data) verbally as well as in writing and gave students the oppor-tunity to ask questions about the goals and procedures of the research. Studentswho requested research packets were instructed to complete the forms at home,in conditions presenting few interruptions and disturbances, and to return their

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  • forms in class the following week. Two weeks after distribution of the initialquestionnaire packets in derivation sample classrooms, we returned to a subset ofclassrooms to recruit participants for the test-retest phase of the study. A sub-sample of 39 participants earned additional extra class credit in this phase; mem-bers completed a second MEQ at home 23 weeks after initial testing.

    Statistical Analyses

    After reporting on basic psychometric properties of the MEQ in the deriva-tion and replication sample, we will present evidence concerning the MEQs fac-tor structure. Next we will consider gender differences in MEQ scores and ana-lyze correlates of MEQ scores by gender. We conducted analyses by gender forthree reasons. First, prior evidence suggests gender differences in broad areas ofengagement with music, such as choice of instrument and musical preferences,as well as in likely contributors such as preference for tempo and timbre (Maid-low & Bruce, 1999; ONeill, 1997). Second, numerous authors in the areas ofresearch methodology and statistics have recommended considering the impactof status variables such as gender on research findings (Heppner, Kivlighan, &Wampold, 1999; Hohmann & Parron, 1996; Howell, 2002). Third, similar rec-ommendations have been made in the assessment literature, in this case focusingon the conceptual and practical value of determining whether scales have similarcorrelates and norms across groups based on status variables such as gender(American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Associa-tion, & National Council on Measurement in Education, 1999).

    Results

    Psychometric and Distribution Properties of the MEQ Scales

    Reliability. The center and right panels in Table 1 show classical theory alpha reli-ability coefficients for scores on the MEQs scales in the derivation sample and inthe replication sample, respectively. Alpha coefficients in the derivation sampleranged from .62 to .89 (M = .77). The mean alpha in the replication sample was .74.The only notable decrement in alpha reliability was found with the Social Upliftscale. Test-retest Pearson correlations ranged from .60 to .74 (M = .68). Thus, scoreson the scales showed acceptable internal consistency and retest stability, given thatthe MEQ was completed on a take-home basis under uncontrolled conditions.

    Factor structure of the MEQ scales. Table 1 also shows pattern/structure coefficientsobtained in exploratory factor analyses of MEQ scale scores in the derivation andreplication samples. We used the principal factors method in these analyses becausewe assumed that each scale has unique variance unshared with the other scales onthe questionnaire. In each sample, we extracted two factors with eigenvalues greater

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  • 334 The Journal of Psychology

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  • than 1 and rotated by the varimax method. The factors we obtained in the replica-tion sample substantially paralleled those found in the derivation sample, althoughthey emerged in reverse order. (To clarify the underlying similarity of these results,Table 1 shows the factors for the replication sample in reverse order of extraction.)

    We reran the factor analysis using all respondents in both of our samples toprovide factor score variables for use in the analyses of the combined sample tobe reported below. The results were essentially the same as those in the deriva-tion sample. Prior to rotation, the first factor had an eigenvalue of 2.60 andaccounted for 43.29% of the variance; following rotation, it accounted for27.01% of the variance. This factor was labeled Subjective/Physical Reactionsand was defined by the following scales: Affective Reactions (loading = .84),Positive Psychotropic Effects (loading = .63), and Reactive Musical Behavior(loading = .70). Prior to rotation, the second factor had an eigenvalue of 1.47 andaccounted for 24.44% of the variance; following rotation, it accounted for26.55% of the variance. This factor was labeled Active Involvement and wasdefined by the following scales: Commitment to Music (loading = .70), Innova-tive Musical Aptitude (loading = .62), Positive Psychotropic Effects (loading =.61), and Social Uplift (loading = .50).

    Descriptive statistics and gender differences. For the most part, MEQ scale scoredistributions were unimodal and symmetrical. Descriptive statistics on the scalesand factors, broken down by gender, are shown in Table 2. A MANOVA on thescales suggested an overall gender difference (Wilkss = .934; F(6, 301) = 3.523;p = .002; partial eta squared = .066), and, in the t tests, women scored significantlylower than men on the Commitment to Music scale and higher than men on theAffective Reactions scale. We found gender differences on both factors (Table 2),with women scoring higher on Factor 1 (Subjective/Physical Reactions) and loweron Factor 2 (Active Involvement). The effect size statistics suggest that the genderdifferences were small.

    Response Style Correlates

    Table 3 shows the correlations between the MEQ scales and factors and theresponse style measures. For women in the combined sample, MEQ scores wereunrelated to Marlowe-Crowne (Crowne & Marlowe, 1964) scores (see Table 3).For men, there was, at most, a weak negative relationship between Marlowe-Crowne scores and one MEQ scale, Positive Psychotropic Effects. In other words,for men, the tendency not to report positive psychotropic effects was associatedwith a higher need for social approval, as measured by the Marlowe-Crowne scale.

    We obtained several significant correlations between the MEQ and the RD-16 (Schuessler et al., 1978) scale for women, although their magnitude was low(maximum r2 = .05). We found a similar pattern of relationships for men, althoughnone of these correlations obtained significance, possibly due to the lower statis-

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  • 336 The Journal of Psychology

    TABLE 2. Descriptive Statistics on Music Experience Questionnaire (MEQ)Variables, by Gender

    Womena Menb Cohens

    MEQ variable M SD M SD t d

    ScalesCommitment to Music 2.41 .79 2.71 .83 3.07** .37Innovative Musical Aptitude 2.65 .84 2.84 .86 1.77 .22Social Uplift 2.98 .89 3.03 .87 0.45 .05Affective Reactions 4.05 .63 3.80 .73 3.12** .38Positive Psychotropic Effects 3.33 .75 3.37 .75 0.03 .00Reactive Musical Behavior 3.80 .86 3.60 .80 1.91 .23

    Factors1: Subjective or Physical Reactions .12 .97 .25 1.04 3.08** .382: Active Involvement .10 1.00 .25 .97 2.90** .36

    an = 216. bn = 100.**p < .01.

    TABLE 3. Correlations Between Music Expression Questionnaire (MEQ)Variables, Two Measures of Self-Presentation, and the Center for Epidemio-logical Study (CES) Depression Scale

    Marlowe-Crowne RD-16 CES-Depression

    MEQ Variable Womena Menb Womenc Mend Womene Menf

    ScalesCommitment to Music .04 .08 .18** .17 .27*** .05Innovative Musical Aptitude .09 .02 .04 .16 .01 .17Social Uplift .03 .13 .08 .05 .15* .13Affective Reactions .03 .05 .21** .18 .04 .24*Positive Psychotropic Effects .02 .32** .01 .02 .14 .09Reactive Musical Behavior .04 .18 .20** .12 .05 .00

    Factors1: Subjective or

    Physical Reactions .01 .09 .22** .20 .01 .182: Active Involvement .02 .14 .15* .18 .21** .27*

    Note. RD-16 = Responding Desirability on Attitudes and Opinions Scale. an = 184. bn = 82. cn = 189. dn = 86. en = 183. fn = 181. *p < .05. **p < .01. ***p < .001.

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  • tical power in this sample. In general, scores on MEQ Factor 1 (Subjective/Phys-ical Reactions) and two of its constituent scales, Affective Reactions and ReactiveMusical Behavior, were positively associated with scores on the RD-16. Scores onMEQ Factor 2 (Active Involvement) and the constituent Commitment to Musicscale were negatively associated with RD-16 scores for women.

    Clinical and Personality Correlates

    Depression and MEQ scores. For respondents of both genders, we found signif-icant positive correlations between CES-Depression (Radloff, 1977) scores andscores on MEQ Factor 2 (see Table 3). For women, CES-D scores were addi-tionally associated with this MEQ factors constituent scales of Commitment toMusic and Social Uplift. In view of the significant correlation between CES-Dand RD-16 (Schuessler et al., 1978) scores for women (r = .38, p < .001), wecomputed partial correlations to explore the possibility that scores on the RD-16could help explain the relationship between these MEQ scores and the CES-D(i.e., that comfort in acknowledging depressive experiences rather than the expe-rience of depression itself is associated with these MEQ dimensions). Partial cor-relations between the CES and scores on Factor 2 (r = .16, p < .05) and Com-mitment to Music (r = .22, p < .01) remained statistically significant, but thepartial correlation with Social Uplift was no longer significant (r = .13, p < .10).It appears that the relationship between depression and MEQ scores for womenwas not explained by this response style measure. For men, the Affective Reac-tions scale was associated negatively, but weakly, with CES-D scores. In consid-ering these depression correlates, we note that the maximum obtained r2 was .07.

    Adjective Check List correlates. Table 4 shows correlations between the MEQvariables and the ACL (Gough & Heilbrun, 1983) dimensions studied. Becauseof the large number of correlations in this table, we focus our presentation on thecorrelates of MEQ factor scores. In results for both women and men, we foundnegative correlations between scores on the MEQ Active Involvement factor andthe ACL Constriction and Conscientiousness factors. Moreover, for respondentsof both genders, there was a negative correlation between this MEQ factor andthe Big Five Agreeableness scale. For men there were additional negative asso-ciations between the Active Involvement factor and ACL Sociability, Potency,and Emotional Stability scores. For women, but not for men, scores on the Sub-jective/Physical Reactions factor were positively associated with ACL variablesfor Potency, Constriction, and Conscientiousness.

    Discussion

    We devised the Music Experience Questionnaire (MEQ) to measure variedaspects of the place of music in peoples lives. Rather than study reactions to

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