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The association between divergent thinking, personality, and listening to classical music

Hooi, L. ORCID: and Tan, K. (2023) The association between divergent thinking, personality, and listening to classical music. Psychology of Music. ISSN 1741-3087

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1177/03057356231211824


Divergent thinking (DT) enables flexible thinking and the generation of a wider range of original ideas that form the basis of creativity. Although personality traits and music listening have been found to be positively correlated with DT performance, the association remains inconclusive. Furthermore, there is a debate regarding whether originality should be included as an index to measure DT. The present study examines the association between DT, personality, and classical music listening. There were 162 Malaysian adults who participated in this experiment. Participants were randomly allocated to either happy, sad classical music (i.e., listen to a repeated clip of happy or sad music), or silent conditions (i.e., no music was played). DT and personality were assessed with Figural and Realistic DT Tests and 44-item personality model with five broad factors, respectively. Positive intercorrelations were found between fluency, flexibility, originality, and DT total score. A weak positive correlation was revealed between DT total score and openness trait. However, there was no significant difference between happy, sad music, and silent conditions on DT performance. The findings support the notion that fluency, flexibility, and originality are the essential indices in measuring DT performance. The results suggest that open-minded people have better DT performance.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
University of Reading Malaysia
ID Code:114326
Uncontrolled Keywords:Psychology (miscellaneous), Music
Publisher:SAGE Publications


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