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Pers Individ Dif. 2014 Jun;63(100):117-121.

Creativity and personality in classical, jazz and folk musicians.

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Department of Psychology, University of Graz, Austria.
Department of Instrumental- and Vocal Pedagogy, University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, Austria.


The music genre of jazz is commonly associated with creativity. However, this association has hardly been formally tested. Therefore, this study aimed at examining whether jazz musicians actually differ in creativity and personality from musicians of other music genres. We compared students of classical music, jazz music, and folk music with respect to their musical activities, psychometric creativity and different aspects of personality. In line with expectations, jazz musicians are more frequently engaged in extracurricular musical activities, and also complete a higher number of creative musical achievements. Additionally, jazz musicians show higher ideational creativity as measured by divergent thinking tasks, and tend to be more open to new experiences than classical musicians. This study provides first empirical evidence that jazz musicians show particularly high creativity with respect to domain-specific musical accomplishments but also in terms of domain-general indicators of divergent thinking ability that may be relevant for musical improvisation. The findings are further discussed with respect to differences in formal and informal learning approaches between music genres.


Creativity; Divergent thinking; Music genre; Music learning; Personality

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