Music to the Inner Ears: Exploring Individual Differences in Musical Imagery

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Roger E. Beaty (Creator)
Donald A. Hodges, Professor Emeritus (Creator)
Thomas R. Kwapil, Associate Professor (Creator)
Paul Silvia, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: In two studies, we explored the frequency and phenomenology of musical imagery. Study 1 used retrospective reports of musical imagery to assess the contribution of individual differences to imagery characteristics. Study 2 used an experience sampling design to assess the phenomenology of musical imagery over the course of one week in a sample of musicians and non-musicians. Both studies found episodes of musical imagery to be common and positive: people rarely wanted such experiences to end and often heard music that was personally meaningful. Several variables predicted musical imagery, including personality, musical preferences, and positive mood. Musicians tended to hear musical imagery more often, but they reported less frequent episodes of deliberately-generated imagery. Taken together, the present research provides new insights into individual differences in musical imagery, and it supports the emerging view that such experiences are common, positive, and more voluntary than previously recognized.

Additional Information

Consciousness and Cognition, 22(4), 1163-1173
Language: English
Date: 2013
Musical imagery, Earworms, Experience sampling method, Personality

Email this document to