The effect of personality type and musical task on self-perceived arousal

J Music Ther. Summer 2008;45(2):147-64. doi: 10.1093/jmt/45.2.147.


This study was designed to measure the level of arousal influenced by 4 different musical experiences classified by task difficulty and to examine the relationship between music-induced arousal level and personality type. Participants included 32 university students who were neither musicians nor music majors. The Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (Eysenck & Eysenck, 1975) was used to identify participants as either extravert or introvert. Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 types of musical tasks: listening, singing, rhythm tapping, or keyboard playing. Arousal level was measured using the Activation-Deactivation Adjective Check List (ADACL) (Thayer, 1978) before and after the musical task. The ADACL is a self-report scale consisting of a list of 20 adjectives which describe various transitory arousal states, including energy, tiredness, tension, and calmness. Results showed no significant difference between personality types and the changes in arousal level. Result indicated a significant effect of listening on decreased tension arousal. Singing and rhythm tapping, which are regarded as having a relatively moderate task difficulty, increased energy arousal significantly and decreased tiredness arousal significantly. Participants' tiredness arousal levels also decreased significantly after keyboard playing. These findings suggest that engaging in musical experience that has a moderate level of task difficulty makes individuals more energetic and less tired.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Attention*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Music / psychology*
  • Personality
  • Relaxation / psychology
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Task Performance and Analysis*