Post-Grant Reports


Soundtrack of Life: Musical Influence on Goals, Motivation, and Success

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Music | Personality and Social Contexts


This study identified if music experience is related to goal orientation and personality. A thorough literature review revealed that there has been little research on the relations between these variables. However, there is a lot of emerging research on the correlations between well-being or success with personality traits and goal orientation. This study was the second half of a project to discern the relations between music involvement, goal orientation, personality traits, well-being, and success. Previously, we found significant correlations between a wide spectrum of music involvement and specific personality traits, such as Openness and Compassion. Other factors, such as behavioral inhibition and approach, also have over-arching correlations with music involvement. These findings suggested that there are strong relations between music and specific goal orientations and personality traits. Our summer 2013 research examined various measures of well-being and life success to measure the connections and interactions between these two factors and personality, goals, and music. For the duration of the summer, student coders first coded all of the open-ended responses to music participation from the first survey. From this data, they were able to further delineate the associations between music involvement, personality, and goals, such as by pinpointing the differences between involved in music as a child and continuing music involvement through post-secondary education and beyond. Next, they identified three useful measures of well-being, including Subjective Well-Being, the Personal Wellbeing Index, and the Flourishing Scale shown to have high reliability and validity and likely to be useful to our research. These measures were included in the second wave survey, along with further streamlined and improved measures of music involvement, personality, and goals. This survey received IRB approval at the end of the summer, and data collection took place throughout the fall 2013 semester. Data analysis is currently being performed. Preliminary analyses show replication of our previous results on the associations between music involvement, personality, and goals, and suggest interesting effects for well-being depending on the different levels of these three variables.


This research was conducted as part of a Linfield College Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Grant in 2013, funded by the Office of Academic Affairs.

The student collaborator was Katricia Stewart.

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