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Associations Between Musical Aptitude, Alexithymia, and Working in a Creative Occupation
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3845-3545
Number of Authors: 32019 (English)In: Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, ISSN 1931-3896, E-ISSN 1931-390X, Vol. 13, no 1, p. 49-57Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Musical aptitude and ability to handle emotions are hypothesized to be important predictors of creative work. The associations between musical aptitude, alexithymia, and having a creative occupation were assessed with linear multiple regression for men and women separately. Participants in the Swedish Twin Registry participated in an online survey, including musical tests for rhythm, pitch and melody discrimination, an IQ test and a test for alexithymia (inability to handle emotions). They also provided a job description, which was coded according to the O*NET system. The level of creativity for each occupation was defined by the O*NET mean rating of thinking creatively. Musicians (n = 43) were excluded. For men (n = 1,327), pitch predicted having creative work. This independent contribution was significant when controlling for age, education, and intelligence although the magnitude of the association decreased when the intelligence score was included. For women (n = 1,908), alexithymia and rhythm predicted having creative work, controlling for age and education. With intelligence score, the independent contribution of rhythm score became nonsignificant while the contribution of alexithymia remained significant. For men, a high pitch score is associated with having creative work, regardless of education and general intelligence. For women ability to handle emotions is associated with creative work. Since subjects working professionally as musicians were excluded from the analyses the associations are not confined to musical creativity but seem to have a more general nature, suggesting that musical aptitude taps into domain-general factors of importance for real life creative engagement.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 13, no 1, p. 49-57
Keywords [en]
musical aptitude, creativity, alexithymia, cognitive ability, occupational matrix
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-166761DOI: 10.1037/aca0000158ISI: 000457253800006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-166761DiVA, id: diva2:1296345
Available from: 2019-03-15 Created: 2019-03-15 Last updated: 2019-12-10Bibliographically approved

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