Beyond positive and negative trait affect: Flourishing through music engagement” by Chin and Rickard, found that music engagement can affect mental and emotional health and lead to a flourishing life (2014, p. 1). This relates to my current research on musical engagement in a nonprofit, spiritual center. An emotional trend has emerged and I have found emotions to be a hard thing to measure. Hopefully this article will help in analyzing my research findings.

headphones and polkadots

Prior to this article, Chin and Rickard published the Music Use (MUSE) questionnaire in 2012 as a means to measure non-musically trained participants’ engagement with music (p. 429). For the purpose of this study, held in 2014, the authors zeroed-in on only 34 items from the original  MUSE survey to measure cognitive and emotional regulation (Chin & Rickard, 2014, p. 4). I love how this study allowed Chin and Rickard to further grow their expertise in musical engagement research, while expanding expand on the MUSE questionnaire.

Chin and Rickard succinctly summarized their key findings of 535 participants at Monash University in three well written sentences (2014). The authors continued to build their case with two tables and one figure that were so loaded with information that was hard to interpret. However, I appreciate how they tied all the information together without walking through each bit of information step by step. This is an incredibly well written article.

Limitations included self reporting as their exclusive method of data gathering, which may have allowed for reporting biases and social desirability motivations as studied by Scollon et al. (as cited in Chin & Rickard, 2014). To elaborate, reporting bias is selective revealing or suppression of information, while social desirability bias is the tendency of participants to answer surveys in a way that is pleasing to others. This could definitely skew results. Chin and Rickard also expressed concern that the majority of participants were female, which could “limit the generality of the findings” (2014, p 11). I also have these limitations, with my self reporting surveys being completed by mostly women at the spiritual center.

The highest form of flattery is imitation and I plan on imitating Chin and Rickard’s style. They certainly know how to write up studies and they are in my realm of musical engagement. The next article I plan on critiquing is their earlier work, “The Music USE (MUSE) Questionnaire: An Instrument to Measure Engagement in Music.”


Chin, T., & Rickard, N. (2012). The Music USE (MUSE) Questionnaire: An Instrument to Measure Engagement in Music. Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 29(4), 429-446.

Chin, T., & Rickard, N. (2014). Beyond positive and negative trait affect: Flourishing through music engagement. Psychology of Well-Being: Theory, Research and Practice, 4(25), 1-13.

Scollon, CN, Kim-Prieto, C, & Diener, E. (2003). Experience sampling: promises and pitfalls, strengths, and weaknesses. Journal of Happiness Studies, 4, 5–34.

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