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Leonardo Bonetti

Intelligence and Music: Lower Intelligent Quotient Is Associated With Higher Use of Music for Experiencing Strong Sensations

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  • Leonardo Bonetti
  • Elvira Brattico
  • Peter Vuust
  • Marina Kliuchko, Royal Academy of Music
  • ,
  • Suvi Saarikallio, Finnish Centre for Interdisciplinary Music Research, Department of Music, Art and Culture Studies, University of Jyväskylä

Intelligence is a key psychological feature associated to emotion and perception. Listening to music is often linked to emotional experience and sensation seeking (SS), traits that have been shown overall negatively correlated with intelligence. In a sample of 53 musicians and 54 non-musicians, we assessed the use of music for experiencing strong emotions through the Music in Mood Regulation (MMR) and the intelligence quotient (IQ) by using the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale III (WAIS-III). We found a negative correlation between the full IQ score and the use of music for SS in both musician and non-musician groups. Furthermore, the use of music for SS was negatively correlated with Verbal IQ in musicians, and with Performance IQ in non-musicians. Our findings indicate that less intelligent individuals make a higher use of music for experiencing strong sensations than more intelligent ones. Furthermore, this association is modulated by the individual musical expertise.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEmpirical Studies of the Arts
Pages (from-to)194-215
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • emotion, high sensation seeking, intelligence, Music in Mood Regulation (MMR), music usage, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS)

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ID: 202388740