Research reveals how emotional intelligence affects performance

February 7, 2014 by Joanna Kindeberg, Goldsmiths, University of London

(Medical Xpress)—Musicians with high emotional intelligence are more likely to get in the 'zone', research from Goldsmiths, University of London has shown.

By analysing amongst performing classical pianists, researchers have discovered new clues why some easier reach 'flow' - a psychological state associated with extreme fulfilment, optimised performance, health and well-being.

The insights will enable performers to pinpoint how their personality affects achievement of 'flow', which many athletes and musicians believe make them perform better.

Often performers practice for years to increase the ability to reach 'flow', and the new findings may give coaches and teachers new tactics to get students 'in the zone'.

The study, led by Professor Joydeep Bhattacharya, Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths, found that pianists with higher 'trait emotional intelligence' – the ability to competently process strong emotional information – are better at focusing on the complex task of playing piano and therefore more likely to reach 'flow'.

Professor Bhattacharya commented: "Surprisingly, the ability to reach 'flow' does not depend on time in piano training or the age of first piano lesson, but on a personality trait."

"'Flow' experience is highly emotional, rewarding, and is strongly communicative of emotions and rewarding as well. So it makes sense that those with high ultimately find it easier to 'zone in'."

'Flow' is often researched in the context of performance and sports, but this study is the first to explain the individual differences in the relation between 'flow' and of music.

Certain musical types of music also affected the 'flow' experience. The majority of participants found that playing Classical music (specifically the music by Frédéric Chopin and other composers of the Romantic era) was far more likely to bring out 'flow' than for example Jazz.

Professor Bhattacharya added: "What is really interesting here is what this can tell us about 'flow' in general. If the ability to experience flow depends on both individual differences amongst pianists and genres of music, how can we apply this in other contexts such as sports or even in the workplace?"

Explore further: Are kids who take music lessons different from other kids?

Related Stories

Are kids who take music lessons different from other kids?

May 23, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Research by U of T Mississauga psychology professor Glenn Schellenberg reveals that two key personality traits – openness-to-experience and conscientiousness—predict better than IQ who will take music ...

Playing music alters the processing of multiple sensory stimuli in the brain

November 24, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Over the years pianists develop a particularly acute sense of the temporal correlation between the movements of the piano keys and the sound of the notes played. However, they are no better than non-musicians ...

Music in the making

October 2, 2013
An investigation into how musicians find creative inspiration has identified four key ingredients needed for creative expression. It also shows that musicians may be at their most inspired when they step away from their instruments ...

Recommended for you

The soothing effects of strangers

September 26, 2018
Is pain treatment more helpful if it is provided by a friend, or is the help of a stranger better? A study conducted by researchers from the Universities of Wuerzburg, Amsterdam and Zurich investigated this question and found ...

Can't keep a secret? There may be a reason for that

September 26, 2018
"Don't tell anyone" is likely a phrase you have heard before or after someone tells you a secret. But why is it so hard to not spill the beans? One Baylor College of Medicine expert explains why this is a challenge.

Researchers identify marker in brain associated with aggression in children

September 26, 2018
Imagine a situation where one child is teasing another. While the child doing the teasing means it playfully, the other child views it as hostile and responds aggressively.

Sensitive babies become altruistic toddlers

September 25, 2018
Our responsiveness to seeing others in distress accounts for variability in helping behavior from early in development, according to a study published September 25 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Tobias Grossmann ...

Evidence that increased BMI causes lower mental wellbeing

September 25, 2018
There is an increasing need to prevent obesity because of the consequences for mental as well as physical health, new research by academics at the University of Bristol has found.

Insomnia symptoms, overall health improve with online insomnia program

September 25, 2018
Treating insomnia with digital programs can improve insomnia symptoms, daytime functioning and overall health, a new study from the University of Oxford and Northwestern Medicine has found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.