Magpies and mirrors : identity as a mediator of music preferences across the lifespan

Leadbeater, Richard and Marsden, Alan (2014) Magpies and mirrors : identity as a mediator of music preferences across the lifespan. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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This thesis examines the role of identity on the development and trajectory of music preferences across the lifespan. The focus of interest in recent empirical research has been to predict music preferences using adolescent individual differences. It is widely recognized that adolescents use music to help them deal with a number of psychosocial and emotional challenges, which often arise during this critical period of identity development. There has been little study whether adults similarly use music to deal with a variety of lifespan experiences, and the impact that these have on the trajectory of music preferences. Therefore, I present the results of two studies which explored the relationship between identity and the trajectory of music preferences. The aim of the first on-line quantitative study was to replicate and expand previous research to explore through simple regression analyses, the relationship between personality traits, age, and estimated IQ and identity dimensions as predictors of music preferences. A large sample (n=768), ages ranging from 17-66 completed the survey. Music preference ratings were assessed using STOMP-R. The BFI and the EIPQ were used for personality trait and identity dimension measurement respectively. Results largely supported previous research. Interestingly, adjusted R2 scores suggested that individual differences accounted for less than 20% of variance in music preferences. To obtain a broader perspective of the problem, a second qualitative study (n=62, 18-73 years; X=28.6), was performed using semi-structured interviews to explore through a symbolic interactionist lens the development and evolution of music preferences as symbolic representations of identity. Coding and thematic analysis of the data revealed that the trajectory, meaning and function of music preferences are indeed subject to evolution, largely mediated by identity development, lifespan experiences and changing social groups. Interestingly, an increasing number of older adults had used the internet and media websites to revisit music from their past and expand their musical taste palate. Future research may explore the use of technology by older adults, on the trajectory of music preferences.

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Thesis (PhD)
?? music preferencesageidentity symbolic interactionism ??
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05 Dec 2014 16:35
Last Modified:
13 Apr 2024 23:27