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Characteristics of Spontaneous Musical Imagery

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This study follows upon Steven Brown's 2006 article in The Journal of Consciousness Studies about the ‘perpetual music track', a form of constant musical imagery. With Brown's assistance, a Musical Imagery Questionnaire was developed. The questionnaire was then administered to 67 participants with the intention of establishing relevant scales for quantifying the presence and extent of spontaneous musical imagery in individuals. In addition to the Musical Imagery Questionnaire, the Six Factor Personality Questionnaire, as well as the Transliminality Scale, which is a measure of openness to psychological material, was used in order to explore the correlations of spontaneous musical imagery to personality constructs. Factor analysis of the responses to the Musical Imagery Questionnaire revealed six meaningful dimensions of spontaneous musical imagery that were labeled as Unconscious, Persistent, Entertainment, Completeness, Musicianship, and Distraction. Participants who scored high on Transliminality also tended to have more persistent, distracting, and unconscious musical imagery. There were also some smaller correlations with other personality variables.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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